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

 

BBC News on the long-term survival of shortwave radio

Tuesday 31st December 2013

In this audio report, Lucy Burton discusses the future (or lack thereof) of shortwave radio. Burton interviews staff at Radio Romania International and even Glenn Hauser.

Thomas Witherspoon, blogger at the SWLing Post and director of the radio charity, Ears To Our World, comments on the continued relevancy of shortwave radio in the digital age.

http://swling.com/blog/2013/12/bbc-news-on-the-long-term-
survival-of-shortwave-radio/

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RF hysteria: school students denied wi-fi

Tuesday 31st December 2013

In New Zealand, the Te Horo School Board of Trustees has capitulated to a campaign orchestrated by two parents

The National Business Review reports that Damon Wyman and David Bird have been leading a campaign to remove the wireless networking from Te Horo School and replace it with cable-based internet. Their concerns appear to be centred around the misguided belief that RF emissions from Wi-Fi cause cancer.

Damon Wyman's 10 year-old son tragically died from a brain tumour. According to the ABTA brain tumours are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in children and young adults.

Despite there being absolutely no evidence for the alleged concerns the school Board of Trustees has decided to spend money scrapping the existing Wi-Fi in the Junior classes and replacing it with Ethernet cable.

Read the National Business Review story at
http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/manawatu-school-removes-wi-fi-over-
cancer-fear-ck-150478


Demonizing Wifi is dangerous to your child’s health
http://sciblogs.co.nz/griffins-gadgets/2013/12/19/
demonizing-wifi-is-dangerous-to-your-childs-health/


Hysteria wins at Te Horo primary school
http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/12/
hysteria_wins_at_te_horo_primary_school.html


Te Horo School Board of Trustee members
http://www.th.school.nz/121/contact_directories/4-board-of-trustee-members

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Met Office to provide space weather forecasts

Monday 30th December 2013

The UK Met Office plan to provide forecasts of solar flares, space storms and solar wind from Spring 2014

They say a £4.6M investment in this innovative system by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will help protect the technologies our day-to-day lives rely on.

Severe solar flares, space storms and solar wind can disrupt satellites, GPS, power grids and radio communications.

Space weather forecasts, running all day, every day from spring 2014, will allow government and businesses to take swift action to ensure services are maintained.

Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, said: "The sun is in constant flux, and the possibly damaging impact of this solar activity is growing as people become more reliant on satellite technology.

"Space is one of the Eight Great Technologies of the future and I'm pleased that this worthwhile project has received the funding it's due. These forecasts will ensure that businesses can plan ahead, keeping us at the forefront of the global race."

The £4.6M investment, spread over the next three years, will allow the Met Office to build on its partnership with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's ( NOAA) National Weather Service, sharing knowledge and expertise in space weather forecasting.

Press release
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2013/
space-weather-forecasts


BBC News Story
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25517466

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DXpedition to Tromelin

Monday 30th December 2013

Hi friends - Most of the DXers consider entities as check boxes to tick once the country is worked and confirmed. That's the game!

However, we hope to bring you a lot more than just a simple check mark as you discover our next destination... Let's talk about the 9th most wanted DXCC entity according to the Clublog statistics, an empty box for 75% of the amateur radio community.

Tromelin, as well as Glorioso, Juan de Nova, Europa, belongs to the ‘Eparses’, a French word to name these small islands scattered around Madagascar. These French territories are administered by the TAAF (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises). Their access is strictly controlled and regulated in particular for ecological reasons. Tromelin is the smallest one (1 square km) and the human impact is all the more sensitive. That's the only island where there are no French military troops and only 2 agents of the TAAF are posted there continuously.

The last operation took place in 2000. A 4 men team made 50,000 contacts with the callsign FR/F6KDF/T. No authorization has been given ever since. 2014 will be the 60th anniversary of the 1st hamradio activity from Tromelin. The operator was Marc, FB8BK/T.

Today, after some successful collaborative work with the TAAF authorities, we are proud to announce that we received our landing permission and got the green light to conduct an amateur radio operation on this remote island.

We'll be active on Tromelin from October 30th to November 10th, 2014.

6 operators have been allowed to stay of the island. They have been selected for their experience and all six are ready to face the challenge. The team is made up of Seb/F5UFX, Michel/FM5CD, Flo/F5CWU, Eric/F5SIH, Franck/F4AJQ, and Fred/F5ROP.

The request is huge and we are conscious of this. For this reason, we are working hard in order to prepare our operation in depth. Some places in the world will have short openings and we’ll do our best to exploit these short moments with proper planning adjusted with the help of pilots.  The coming months will be devoted to the search of sponsors. We already have part of the equipment but partnership with equipment suppliers will be essential. On the other hand, we will contact foundations, clubs, organizations to request assistance to help us balance our budget, estimted at 90,000 USDs, most of which is devoted to logistic costs.

Our website is online. All details regarding the progress, plans of the DXpedition and sponsorship opportunities will be accessible through dedicated pages.... http://www.tromelin2014.com

We will regularly keep updating you until our departure.

Team Tromelin 2014
Seb F5ufx, leader@tromelin2014.com

via OPDX

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 30th December 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 22nd-December, through Sunday, 29th-December there were 220 countries active.

Countries available:

3A, 3B8, 3B9, 3DA, 3V, 3W, 4J, 4L, 4O, 4S, 4X, 5A, 5B, 5R, 5W, 5Z, 6W, 6Y, 7P, 7X, 8P, 8R, 9A, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9M2, 9M6, 9Q, 9V, 9X, 9Y,

A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BS7, BV, BY, C3, C6, C9, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D6, DL, DU, E5/s, E6, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EL, ER, ES, ET, EU, EX, EY, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FP, FR, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, H40, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HC8, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, J5, J6, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JY,

K, KG4, KH0, KH2, KH6, KL, KP2, KP4, LA, LU, LX, LY, LZ, OA, OD, OE, OH, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ5, PJ7, PY, PZ, S2, S5, S7, S9, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TL, TR, TT, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V3, V4, V5, V6, V8, VE, VK, VK9N, VP2V, VP5, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9,
VR, VU, XE, XU, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z2, Z3, ZA, ZB, ZC4, ZD7, ZF, ZL, ZP, ZS, ZS8

PLEASE NOTE: The report "could" contain "Pirate/SLIM" operations or more likely a "BUSTED CALLSIGN". As always, you never know - "Work First Worry Later" (WFWL).

OPDX

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IOTA News from OPDX

Monday 30th December 2013

Island activities:

AF-032. Vittorio, I2GPT, will be active as 5H1VC from Zanzibar Island (WLOTA 1080, WWFF 5HFF-003) between January 4-12th, 2014. Activity will be on 40-10 meters using CW and RTTY (20m only) for the first time (Please have patience). QSL via RW6HS, direct (see QRZ.com) or by the Bureau.

OC-042. Mike, W6QT, will be active as DU3/W6QT from Luzon Island until March 2014. Activity has been 40/20/15/10 meters, but he actually likes working the lower bands. QSL via his home callsign.

OC-139. Andy, VK5MAV, will once again be active as VK5MAV/p from Kangaroo Island (WLOTA 0869) between February 3-10th, 2014. Activity will be holiday style on 40-10 meters using mostly CW. For direct QSLs, read details on QRZ.com. If you are not in a rush, all QSLs will be sent via the QSL Bureau 6-7 months later. Free of charge! Logsearch and QSL requests are also via the ClubLog OQRS system.

SA-025. (Delayed) Operators Raimundo/PT7CG and Renner/PY7RP were expected to be active as ZX8DX from Pedra do Sal Beach on Grande de Santa Isabel Island between December 26-30th. However, the ZX8DX operation was delayed. PT7CG intends to activate the island in the first two weeks of January.

Compiled by Tedd Mirgliotta, KB8NW OPDX

RSGB IOTA website

Check-out the latest IOTA News from the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club

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International Air-ambulance Week 2014

Sunday 29th December 2013

An Amateur Radio 9-day Special Event - taking place on the weekend commencing 28th September, 2014

The intention of this event will be to help support the many donation-funded flying medical services around the world, by operating your special event station during at least some of the 9 days during which the event takes place.

Nine days to include two weekends, so everyone can get an opportunity to take part. The primary rule is that no radio amateur should accept any donations - donations and offers of funding should be made directly to which ever service you nominate when you complete the registration form to take part in the event.

Registration will be mandatory and all stations taking part will be issued a registration number which will be listed on this website. Included in the list along side each registered station will be a clickable link enabling those wishing to donate, to donate directly to the charity of the service they wish to support. There have been several similar small local events, this will be an attempt to bring things all together as one big well organised event.

Only donation supported flying medical services are applicable, whether part or entirely donation funded. The location of the special event station will be any where you choose to set it up – club, home or if you can manage the permissions to do it, a public place. It might be worth enquiring if you can run it from the actual landing field of the service, but I suspect permission would be refused due to the risk of interference with ATC radio. It is your choice whether you apply for a special event callsign, or simply operate under your own – but as said registration is mandatory. The registration facility will remain open from as soon as the website is formally set up, until the end of the event each year.

The event’s date has been set to coincide with the UK’s own funding drive week for its own helicopter ambulance services. All of these, around 30 in number, are entirely public donation funded.

The event is intended to commence on the fourth weekend of September annually and is to be run by the same team which operates the well established International Museum Weekends.

Regards

73 Jon, M0HEM

http://www.qrz.com/db/m0hem

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WebSDR for 434 and 1296 MHz

Sunday 29th December 2013

To facilitate the tracking of the flotilla of 434 MHz balloons launched on Saturday, December 28, radio amateurs set up an online WebSDR receiver

Noel G8GTZ, Martin G8JNJ and Phil M0DNY from the Southampton University Wireless Society, set up the Microwave WebSDR near Basingstoke in the UK. It currently supports parts of the 23cm and 70cm bands, (2m is a work-in-progress) and can be listened to from anywhere in the world.

The link is: http://websdr.suws.org.uk/

A couple of notes when using the WebSDR:

- Please set your location in dl-fldigi to somewhere around 51.294, -1.131 so we don’t have any fake receiver lines on the map!

- Connection to the site is over a several km wifi link, so once you’ve found the signal, please switch off your waterfall view (Set to ‘blind’) to save bandwidth for others.

- The waterfall speed will also be automatically limited as the number of users increases.

Enjoy!
Phil M0DNY

Frequencies of the 434 MHz USB balloons that went aloft on Superlaunch Saturday, Dec 28 can be seen at
http://ukhas.org.uk/ukhas:superlaunchsat

Real time tracking of balloons at
http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi
http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:tracking_guide

Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) Guide
http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:ssdv

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about the launches
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:
ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

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UK 434 MHz balloon aims for Poland

Saturday 28th December 2013

Today .. Saturday, December 28, Dave Akerman M6RPI and Anthony Stirk M0UPU plan to send a balloon transmitting live SSDV images on 434 MHz from the UK to Poland

The Raspberry Pi powered balloon is planned to take off at 1100 UT on Saturday from Brightwalton in Berkshire. The launch will be streamed live on the Internet.

Payload:

$$SLEET 434.400 MHz RTTY 50 7N2
$$SNOW 434.410 MHz RTTY 100 7N2
$$WANNAB1 434.420 MHz DominoEX16
$$CLOUDY 434.200 MHz RTTY 300 bps Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV)

BATC.tv stream from the launch site
http://www.batc.tv/streams/m0upu

Live tracking of the balloons at
http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Streaming video from Dave M6RPI cam
http://www.batc.tv/streams/hab-o-cam

Further information at
http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=1457

Other 434 MHz balloons going aloft on Superlaunch Saturday can be seen at http://ukhas.org.uk/ukhas:superlaunchsat

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi
http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:tracking_guide

Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) Guide
http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:ssdv

Balloon flights are always subject to last minute changes. To get up-to-date information subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:
ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

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Tokyo Hy-Power ceases trading

Saturday 28th December 2013

The Japanese amateur radio company Tokyo Hy-Power, well known for its high power linears for HF and VHF, has ceased trading

Tokyo Hy-Power Laboratory was founded in 1975 by Nobuki Wakabayashi JA1DJW in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, Japan. Their initial products were antenna couplers for HF bands such as the HC-500 and HC-2500.

In 1977, Tokyo Hy-Power Labs, Inc. was formally established as a developer and manufacturer of linear amplifiers, antenna tuners, etc. for radio amateurs. One of their early products, the HL-4000 linear amplifier using 8877/3CX1500A7 by EIMAC, was the first real HF band high-power linear of its kind in Japan.

As HF mobile operation grew in popularity, they developed fully-transistorized wide-band linears for mobile use such as the HL-200B and HL-400B.

In 1984 they started to manufacture RF power products for the industrial market. They developed RF switching mode technology used in 13.560 MHz RF power generators as well as other industrial and medical use products such as pulse high power and ultra wide band amplifiers.

In recent years they developed 3 KW VHF RF power generators together with a fast reacting auto impedance matcher used in the semiconductor manufacturing fabrication plants for advanced LSI chips.

Hamlife report in Japanese December 24, 2013
http://www.hamlife.jp/2013/12/24/tokyo-hy-power/

Hamlife report in Google English
http://tinyurl.com/Hamlife-Tokyo-Hy-Power

The company's Japanese language website was at
http://www.thp.co.jp/

The site is no longer available but a copy taken in August 2013 can be seen at
https://web.archive.org/web/20130822211226/http://www.thp.co.jp/

At the time of writing the English language website was still available
http://www.tokyohypower.com/

Japan once had more radio amateurs than any other nation but since 1996 the hobby has been in sharp decline with the number of amateur radio stations falling by over 65%, see
http://www.speroni.com/MPT/JA-Stations.html

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New CATfix software for the Kenwood TS-590S and TS-990S

Saturday 28th December 2013

Ian Wade, G3NRW, has just released the 'CATfix' software for the Kenwood TS-590S and TS-990S radios.

CATfix is a Windows program that "fixes" a significant operational shortcoming of the Kenwood TS-590S, and also helps set up the right digital environment for the TS-590S and TS-990S.

The TS-590S shortcoming relates to the operation of the front-panel
TF-SET button - namely, when you press and release this button, the two VFOs swap over, but the IF filters do not. DX chasers have long said they would like to swap the IF filters as well, so they can listen to the DX station with a narrow filter and around their own frequency with a wide filter.

CATfix provides an option that does this automatically - for example, when you are listening on VFO-A with IF Filter A, pressing TF-SET will switch to VFO-B and IF Filter B. When you release TF-SET, you return to VFO-A and IF Filter A.

For both the TS-590S and TS-990S, CATfix also addresses the special requirements for setting up a clean digital environment.

Specifically, CATfix has options that let you do the following: -
- Set the TX power to any (usually low) level
- Set both VFOs to upper sideband
- Turn off the audio processor
- Lock the front panel to prevent accidental change
- Turn off Auto Information to prevent application program overload

All of these options are individually selectable, and you can override them at any time.

Further, CATfix has a "raw" mode that lets you record all CAT traffic between the PC and the radio.

CATfix works with all versions of Windows from XP onwards, and is free.
It is obtainable from the "TS-590S Resources Page":
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/wadei/ts-590s.htm

Scroll down towards the bottom of the page, then click on the "CATFIX" button.

73

Ian, G3NRW

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The Quiet Zone – where there is no cell service, by law

Saturday 28th December 2013

Within a 13,000 square-mile area in West Virginia and Virginia, cell phone transmissions, Wi-Fi, and even microwave ovens are restricted – by law.

This is the National Radio Quiet Zone, established in 1958 to protect the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia, from harmful interference.

But what’s it like to live here?
http://screen.yahoo.com/quiet-zone-where-no-cell-193638410.html

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Ham Radio Balloon SEBA-6/ORIENT EXPRESS

Friday 27th December 2013

An amateur radio balloon with a beacon on 21.115 MHz running DominoEX-22 will launch from Poland at 0900 UT on Saturday, December 28

HF beacon: 21.115 MHz (dial) USB DominoEX-22 with RSID:

- 500 mW output (@9V) - will keep running to about 4V (with decerasing power)
- half wave vertical dipole
- data frames every minute, no beeps between packets
- every 5 minutes CW ID will be sent with following format: DE SP9UOB SP9UOB <locator> <locator> ALT <altitude> M at about 20 WPM
- transmiter should work at least 4 days

This payload also will be transmitting APRS frames on 10 MHz (SP9UOB-12) but there are little chances to pickup the frames because of totally mismatched antenna

Second beacon: an ancient RFM22B tracker 470 Hz shift, 50 bps 7n1 on 437.600 MHz RTTY + CW ID (same format as above)

Here is short instruction on how to turn on RSID in dl-fldigi:
http://sp9uob.verox.pl/pliki/rsid.png

Trackers especially in first skip radius range (about 1500 km) very desirable.

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi
http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:tracking_guide

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:
ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

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GEK-2 Dual-band HF amateur radio transceiver

Friday 27th December 2013

Namachivayam Ganesan VU3GEK has developed the GEK-2 dual-band 40/20m 50 watt SSB amateur radio transceiver

The GEK-2 comes with inbuilt SWR /Power Meter with digital display readout and with smooth, fast attack, I.F.-derived AGC.
• Covers 7-7.300 MHz and 14-14.350 MHz
• 1-50 Watts RF output
• 2.5 Watts audio output

Watch gek1

Further information on the GEK-2 website
http://homebrewcorner.blogspot.in/p/gek-2-hf-transceiver.html

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Updated website for ARISS

Friday 27th December 2013

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) organisation have refreshed their website

See the new site at
http://www.ariss.org/

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From the Offices of Santa Claus, Lapland, Finland

Friday 27th December 2013

From the Offices of Santa Claus, Lapland, Finland - OF9X SANTA WENT QRT WEDNESDAY, DEC.25 AT 07 UTC This year, Santa Claus of Amateur Radio fame was somewhat different than in the past. A total of fifteen (15) radio operating elves and their support personnel brought Santa and Christmas cheer to ham families in a very special way, with several added elements to highlight the Festive Season. Not only were some 21.000 QSOs uploaded to ClubLog but associated with these QSOs were many interesting occasions when Santa was in personal contact with children all across the world. Those are moments to be treasured! Of those 21.000 QSOs, a sizable proportion were made on CW as well as on low bands, utilizing state-of-the-art remote technology of Radio Arcala, OH8X. Moreover, extensive special hardware elsewhere was employed to add to highly dedicated operators in the Far North. Everyone was determined to push their personal Christmas envelope to its limit.

Santa would like to summarize your eligibility for the Santa Claus (CW) Award which you can order by email at of9x@sral.fi You can check your QSOs at http://qrz.com/db/OF9X 1: You have a QSO with OF9X on SSB & CW - also 2012 Santa QSOs count. 2: You have only one 2013 QSO with OF9X - here correct passwords from the Christmas Puzzle at qrz.com would compensate. Additionally, you can A:) order a bureau card, B:) direct airmail QSL cards, and C:) a direct Award and QSL cards through ClubLog's OQRS facility. See again the QRZ.com re: OF9X. Thank you for contacting Santa on many modes and bands during Christmas 2013. Hopefully we will meet again next year. OF9X Santa Claus and his elves OH0XX, OH1JD, OH1TX, OH2BCI, OH2BEE, OH2BH, OH2BR, OH2FPK (YL), OH2FPX (YL), OH2KM, OH2PM, OH2TA, OH6CT, OH6KN and OH6KZP. [OH2BH]

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IOTA News from the
Deutscher Amateur Radio Club

Friday 27th December 2013

Island activities:

AF-089; TR; Ogooue-Maritime Province group:
Thor (SM7RME) has been active since the 20th as TR0A/p from Mandji Island. QRV mainly so far on 17m in CW, hopes to appear on other bands in CW and SSB as well. QSL via SM7EHU.

AS-006; VR2; Hong Kong group:
Alberto, VR2/IV3TAN, will be active from Pang Chau Island for a considerable time due to a work assignment there. He hopes to receive a local callsign eventually and aims to be particularly active on the low bands. QSL via IV3TAN.

AS-015; 9M2; Pinang State group:
Rich/PA0RRS returns to Pinang (WLOTA 2952). QRV from the 31st until February 23 2014 as 9M2MRS on 40-10m in CW, RTTY, and PSK. QSL via PA0RRS (d/B), LoTW, eQSL.

AS-049; JA6; Tokara Islands:
Take/JI3DST announces an activation of Tokara Island from the 28th until Januar 3. QRV as JI3DST/6 on 80-10m in all modes. QSL via h/c (d/B).
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/ji3dst

AS-124; A6; Gulf of Oman group:
The announced activation of Dibba Rock by A63RI had to be cancelled due to bad weather and sea conditions.

EU-125; OZ; Jylland West group:
Ric/DL2VFR is going to put OU1RAEM on the air once more from Romo Island (DIA NS-001, OZFF-004). QRV from December 28 till 31 on HF (including the RAEM contest). QSL via DF5LW (d/B).

http://www.iota-expedition.com/

EU-128; DL; Schleswig-Holstein State East group:
Stefan/DF8HS is currently staying on Fehmarn until January 16; operating as DF8HS/p on HF. QSL via h/c (d/B).

EU-129; DL; Usedom Island:
Christian/DC7VS is going to stay on Usedom (DLFF-075) from the 25th until January 15 and get on the air as DC7VS/p, mainly on 40 and 20m in SSB and PSK. He also plans to activate a number of castles during that time as DC7VS/m. QSL via DC7VS (d/B).
http://www.dc7vs.de

NA-045; XE3; Quintana Rioo State North group:
Keith/K5ENS resides on Mujeres Island (ARLHS MEX-139) for most of the year. He is QRV holiday-style with 100W on HF as XE3/K5ENS. For QSL info see qrz.com.

NA-143; W5; Texas State East (Matagorda to Jefferson County) group: Joe/K5KUA returns to Galveston (USi TX-001S) for the holiday season. QRV as K5KUA/5 from the 26th until January 1, mostly on 40-10m in CW. QSL via K5KUA (d/B).

SA-006; PJ1/2/4; Bonaire and Curacao:
William/K9HZ has been active as PJ4/K9HZ since the 20th. He plans to stay until January 1 and operate on 80-6m. QSL via LoTW, K9HZ (d).

SA-050; CE9; Antarctica Chilena Province group:
Vlad/UA4WHX is operating right now as CE9/UA4WHX from Navarino Island. QRV on 10, 15, and 20m. It is not known how long his stay there will last. QSL via UA4WHX (see qrz.com).

Compiled by Klaus, DL7UXG
Deutscher Amateur Radio Club
e-mail: iota@dxhf.darc.de

RSGB IOTA website

Check-out the latest IOTA News bulletin from OPDX

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Norwegian special prefixes

Tuesday 24th December 2013

Tom, LA4LN, NRRL HF Traffic Manager, reports:

"During all of the year 2014, Norwegian LA stations may use the LI (Lima India) prefix, and LB stations may use the LJ (Lima Juliet) prefix, as part of the celebration of 200 years since the Norwegian Constitution, which was approved on 17 May 1814.

"QSL will be via the respective LA and LB permanent callsign. The special prefixes may only be used from the Norwegian mainland. There will also be a special station active, with the callsign: LM1814 (QSL via LA2G).

"The Norwegian Radio Relay League (NRRL) plans to offer a special award for contacts with the jubilee stations with LI and LJ prefixes plus the special station LM1814.

Stay tuned!"

OPDX

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Success for VK2 amateurs and their masts and towers

Monday 23rd December 2013

It's taken some time, but at last there has been a breakthrough.

Up until now each council or even each parish have set their own rules, now thanks to Roger Harrison VK2RH's work, there is now a consistent, acceptable set of rules for the erection of antenna masts and towers in the whole of NSW, whether the Radio Amateur lives in the city, on the coast or out in the country.


Amateur Radio Antennas and Masts in NSW
Date : 21 / 12 / 2013
Author : Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH

From 22 February 2014, amateurs across NSW will have the freedom to put up masts, antennas and dishes unfettered by development restrictions previously imposed by local councils, which varied widely across the state.

On 19 December 2013, the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, the Hon Brad Hazzard MP, announced a range of changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) on exempt and complying development, which enables minor developments that meet set standards to proceed without having to get development approvals passed through local councils.

The changes of interest to amateurs concerns aerials, antennas and communication dishes that can be put up as 'exempt development'. Highlights are summarized below.

If your property is not subject to certain environmental or heritage restrictions, you can erect up to three aerials, antennae and communication dishes on a lot.

A ground mounted aerial or antenna can be attached to a mast that is no more than 10m in height and located at least 5m from a side or rear boundary.

Any mast must be no more than 100mm in diameter, or an open lattice frame 500mm in diameter.

Any ground mounted aerial or antenna, including masts, must be located at the rear of the lot, except if in a rural zone or R5 residential zone.

Certain requirements of the Building Code of Australia may apply. Antennas, dishes and masts ". . . must be structurally adequate and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, if applicable."

Amateurs wanting to erect masts and antennas outside the parameters of exempt development will be able to proceed through a streamlined, low-cost 'complying development' process, which we understand will become available later.

More details on the announcement are on the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure website at:

www.planning.nsw.gov.au/exemptandcomplying

The Department has published a series of Information Sheets on exempt development, which are online at:

www.planning.nsw.gov.au/exemptdevelopment.

The Information Sheet of interest is "2.1 Aerials, antennae and communications dishes", which you can download from this link
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Portals/0/BuildingInNSW/EC/EC_POLICY_2_1_AERIALS.pdf

Unfortunately, the Information Sheet appears in places to be open to ambiguous interpretation however, we expect to sort this out in time.

Once again, I must congratulate and thank everyone - individual amateurs and radio clubs alike - who went to the effort of making a submission during all the phases of the NSW Planning System Review over the past few years and also writing to your local members last year. All the effort has paid off.

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Radio hams remove ISS ammonia pump

Monday 23rd December 2013

NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio KC5ZTE (photo right) and Mike Hopkins KF5LJG completed a 5 hour and 28 minute spacewalk Saturday to remove a faulty ammonia pump on the International Space Station.

A second spacewalk to install a new unit now is scheduled for Tuesday, December 24.

The extra day will allow time for the crew to resize a spare spacesuit on the space station for use by Mastracchio.

During repressurization of the station’s airlock following the spacewalk, a spacesuit configuration issue put the suit Mastracchio was wearing in question for the next excursion - specifically whether water entered into the suit’s sublimator inside the airlock. The flight control team at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston decided to switch to a backup suit for the next spacewalk.

This issue is not related to the spacesuit water leak that was seen during a July spacewalk by European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano KF5KDP and NASA’s Chris Cassidy KF5KDR.
Both Mastracchio and Hopkins reported dry conditions repeatedly throughout Saturday’s activities and the two were never in danger.

NASA Television coverage of Tuesday’s spacewalk will begin at 6:15 a.m. EST. The spacewalk scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

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Spain gets experimental permission for 5 MHz

Monday 23rd December 2013

Following steps taken by URE, the Spanish national amateur radio society, SETSI, their regulator, has issued a resolution authorizing use of the following frequencies during the first half of 2014:

5268, 5295, 5313, 5382, 5430 and 5439 kHz.

3 kHz bandwidth, Power Limit 100W, CW/SSB [USB]

For the full text of the resolution, in which the conditions of use specified band visit http://www.ure.es/noticias/2315-2013-12-20-10-05-22.html

(Thanks URE, EA7OP, OK1RP)

Seasons Greetings to All

Paul G4MWO

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SAQ 17.2 kHz transmissions on Christmas Eve

Monday 23rd December 2013

The Swedish VLF transmitter SAQ at Grimeton will be transmitting on 17.2 kHz on Christmas Eve and you can listen on the web using the Delft VLF SDR

They will start the transmitter at about 07:30 UT on December 24 and should be on air with a test signal from 07:40 UT. A message will be sent at 08:00 UT on a frequency of 17.2 kHz CW.

The Varberg Radio Station at Grimeton in southern Sweden (built 1922–24) uses an Alexanderson Alternator and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list on July 2, 2004.

It is an exceptionally well-preserved monument to early wireless transatlantic communication consisting of the transmitter equipment, including the aerial system of six 127-m high steel towers. Although no longer in regular use, the equipment has been maintained in operating condition.

The 109.9 hectre site comprises buildings housing the original Alexanderson transmitter, including the towers with their antennae, short-wave transmitters with their antennas, and a residential area with staff housing.

The architect Carl Åkerblad designed the main buildings in the neoclassical style and the structural engineer Henrik Kreüger was responsible for the antenna towers, the tallest built structures in Sweden at that time. The site is an outstanding example of the development of telecommuni-cations and is the only surviving example of a major transmitting station based on pre-electronic technology.

QSL reports can be sent via the SM bureau or direct by mail to
Alexander - Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner, Radiostationen, Grimeton 72, S-432 98 Grimeton, Sweden
E-mail to: info@alexander.n.se

Listen to the VLF band on-line using the Delft web VLF Software Defined Radio
http://websdr.pa3weg.nl/

A PC soundcard-based SAQ VLF receiver
http://sites.google.com/site/sm6lkm/saqrx

Using a PC with soundcard as a VLF receiver
http://www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/speclab/vlf_rcvr.htm

SAQ Website
http://www.alexander.n.se/

UNESCO - Varberg Radio Station
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1134

Alexanderson alternator
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexanderson_alternator

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Amsterdam Island DXpedition update

Sunday 22nd December 2013

The Amsterdam Island DXpedition is on schedule and all systems remain GO!

All the equipment the Amsterdam Island DXpedition team shipped to New Zealand is now aboard the MV Braveheart. Our documentation - sanitation inspections, hull inspections, de-ratting certification, and bio-security clearance has been completed.

The vessel will be fueled for its voyage to Australia on December 23rd. On December 24th, fresh produce for the initial voyage will be taken aboard. The crew will celebrate Christmas day at home with their families and then on December 26th at 1400 local time, during high slack water, the vessel will sail for Fremantle, Australia.

The Braveheart will sail around the north cape of New Zealand's north island, across the Tasman Sea, across the Great Australian Bight, and up the west coast of Australia to the port of Fremantle.
Additional provisions will be taken aboard in Australia and the vessel will be re-fueled for the voyage to Amsterdam Island and back.

FT5ZM team members will begin arriving in Fremantle on January 9th. There will be team meetings, toasts, and shopping trips. Our good VK6 friends have acquired some additional supplies for us and we will take these aboard. The team will board the Braveheart on January 14th, configure our maritime mobile station, and sail for Amsterdam Island on January 15th.

You will likely hear from us one more time before we leave our respective countries and fly to Australia. However, as always, thank you to the amateur and DX community for your support and interest.
Visit our website frequently for late breaking news and updates. We’ve not yet reached our financial goals, but with your continued support, that goal is in sight.

Ralph - K0IR

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Ofcom draft Annual Plan 2014/15

Saturday 21st December 2013

Ofcom has published its draft Annual Plan for the coming financial year, and will hold a series of public meetings to hear people's feedback

The draft Annual Plan sets out Ofcom’s strategic purposes, proposed priorities and work programme for the 12 months from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. Those with an interest in Ofcom’s work are encouraged to respond to the consultation by the closing date of 14 February 2014, or to attend one of the meetings.

The meetings provide an opportunity to discuss Ofcom's approach to television, radio, telecoms, postal and wireless communications services. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation, after which there will be an opportunity to comment and ask questions. All meetings are open and free of charge.

Further details are available online.
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/
draft-annual-plan-2014-15/event


The views expressed in the meetings, together with responses to the document, will help Ofcom inform its final Annual Plan statement for 2014/15, which will be published in time for the start of the next financial year in April 2014.

Annual Plan PDF Document
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/
draft-annual-plan-2014-15/summary/draft-annual-plan-2014-15.pdf


Ofcom Draft Annual Plan
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/
draft-annual-plan-2014-15/

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IARU Recommendations

Saturday 21st December 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I should have sent out this notice much earlier, but please note the recommendation below which has been agreed at the Region 3 Directors meeting in Tokyo, August 2013.

"At the Region 3 Directors meeting held in August 26th and 27th, 2013, the following two recommendations were adopted regarding usage of two meter band for the amateur satellite service.

1. It is recommended that the band 144-146 MHz (“two-meter” band) be used exclusively for down link on all future satellites.

2. It is recommended that the 144.000-144.035 MHz section be additionally allocated for satellite down link .

Background information

1. Usage of the band 144-146 MHz for down link only

The band 144-146 MHz (“two-meter” band) is, according to the Radio Regulations, allocated to the amateur and the amateur-satellite services world-wide on a primary basis with exceptions in several footnotes. But by agreement of all three IARU Regions, currently only a sub-section, namely 145.80–146 MHz of the allocation, is used on an exclusive basis for the amateur-satellite service.

Although the band 145.80 – 146 MHz is presently used for both uplink and downlink portions, the Cavtat Conference of IARU Region 1 in 2008 agrees to recommend its use for downlink-only to reduce interference signals from non-amateur signals (illegal’s like taxis) being relayed if it is used for uplinks.

The usage of the band 145.8 - 146 MHz reduces path losses by about 9dB compared with usage of the band 435 - 438 MHz.

Most amateur satellites do not employ attitude control due to their size and financial constraints, therefore the use of simple omni-directional antenna would be popular. In this situation 9 dB pass loss advantage is essential.

On the other hand, some societies in Region 3 have mentioned that to avoid interference signals from non-amateur signals (illegal’s like taxis) the band 145.8 – 146 MHz has not been used for downlinks in most amateur-satellite services. But comparing effects of interference caused by illegal signals on uplinks and downlinks, to avoid uplink interference is important because many amateur satellites would be affected if there is interference on uplink.

Taking into account these factors mentioned above, it is recommended that the band 145.8 - 146 MHz should be used for downlink only in Region 3.

2. Additional allocation of 144.000-144.035 MHz section for satellite down link only

The IARU Satellite Advisory Group has been discussing the additional allocation of the 144.000-144.035 MHz section for satellite down link only taking into account the shortage of spectrum of 2m band for the amateur satellite service .

In 2008 it appeared that very little EME was then taking place at the very bottom of the 144 MHz band, due to interference from computer oscillators. This section is already aligned worldwide and therefore it was considered that this could be suitable part of the band to be used.

More recent research and discussions suggested that this situation remains the same today. Further research has concluded that the bottom 35% of the 2 metre band is almost completely unused.

It was noted that Region 1 had also discussed this matter and their opinion was on similar lines.

This subject was also discussed at the Region 2 conference in September this year and approved".

73 de Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP
Secretary, IARU Region 3
secretary<at>iaru-r3.org

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Freeing up of 6 metres in VK

Friday 20th December 2013

Advanced Licence holders in Australia have begun using the 6 metre band spectrum, previously subject to official restrictions to avoid potential interference to analogue television.

In writing to the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has confirmed that the last Channel 0 transmission closed on 27 November.

The ACMA has advised that amateur operations will no longer need to be curtailed in order to avoid interference to Channel 0 stations.

The WIA takes this to mean that the restrictions on the lower 2MHz of the band no longer apply in VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK4.

Australia's TV band was increased to accommodate Channel 0, first the commercial stations, then the ethnic based Special Broadcasting Service, and until recently translators.

The Broadcasting Service has 45-52 MHz on a Primary basis for analogue TV in Australia, which is no longer the case and only digital TV has been available since 10 December.

An easing of those restrictions in call areas that did not have local analogue stations, resulted long ago from the hard work of the WIA.

While Advance licence holders are given back their full use of the lower 2MHz of the band, Standard licensees that began in October 2005, remain restricted to 52-54 MHz.

The WIA since 2010 has asked that the entire 6 metre band be returned to its former status of Primary to the Amateur Service, in line with international practice, and that Standard Licensees be given the lower end too.

However the ACMA is yet to accede to the WIA requests - those changes are expected when the Australian Radio Frequency Plan 2014 is released.

A number of Australians are trawling the lower end of the so called 'magic band' looking to score a new country when propagation allows.

Jim Linton VK3PC

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Radio Hams to repair faulty ISS pump

Friday 20th December 2013

The ARRL report Expedition 38 Astronauts Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, and Rick Mastracchio, KC5ZTE, will leave the confines of the International Space Station (ISS) December 21, 23, and 25 to repair a faulty cooling system pump

The malfunction has already caused the postponement of one Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact.  It’s unclear if the ISS problem will affect additional ARISS school contacts.

Also postponed is the shipment of four amateur radio CubeSats (1U) LituanicaSAT-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2, UAPSat-1, the 915 MHz CubeSat SkyCube and 28 CubeSats (3U) from the company Planet Labs. The CubeSats were to have been sent to the ISS on an Orbital Sciences Antares-120 rocket on December 18 but this launch will not now take place until January.

Read the ARRL story at
http://www.arrl.org/news/two-ham-astronauts-to-repair-faulty-pump-during-multiple-spacewalks

LituanicaSAT-1 with amateur radio FM transponder to deploy from ISS
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/04/12/lituanicasat-1/

LitSat-1 amateur radio frequencies announced
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/09/11/litsat-1-amateur-radio-frequencies-announced/

ArduSat Open Source Ham Radio CubeSats
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/08/09/ardusat-open-source-ham-radio-cubesats/

UAPSat-1
http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/iaru/finished_detail.php?serialnum=210

SkyCube to use 915 MHz CubeSat Ground Station Network
http://amsat-uk.org/2012/08/25/skycube-to-use-915-mhz-cubesat-ground-station-network/

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Using a PSoC for a ham radio CW filter

Friday 20th December 2013

The Embedded System Design newsletter has an article on implementing a amateur radio CW filter using a Cypress programmable SoC

Meng He of Cypress Semiconductor lays out the steps to implement a Continuous Wave (CW) filter in a typical ham radio setup by using a Cypress programmable SoC rather than placing a bandpass filter component in the RF tuning portion.

In the article he points out that Amateur radio – or ‘ham’ radio - was the first technology-based social network, but it has more serious utility as well, and is used to provide emergency communications during natural disasters, such as tornados and hurricanes, long before today’s Internet and satellite communications.

Read Implementation of a CW Filter in ham radio setups using a PSoC
http://www.embedded.com/design/mcus-processors-and-socs/4426245/
Implementation-of-a-CW-Filter-in-ham-radio-setups-using-a-PSoC

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How high-altitude balloon missions stay on track

Thursday 19th December 2013

In The Register Lester Haines interviews radio amateur Daniel Richman M0ZDR (ex-M6DRX) about the impressive Cambridge University Space Flight (CUSF) Landing Predictor

Rob Anderson wrote the original landing predictor for High Altitude Balloons in 2008. Since then it's been continually updated to improve performance, and now offers anyone wanting to send a balloon aloft the chance of seeing very quickly indeed just where it'll burst and where they should head to recover their precious load.

Others who've worked on the predictor in the past five years are Fergus Noble M0NBL, Ed Moore M0TEK, Jon Sowman M0JSN and Adam Greig M0RND.

Read Fair winds and following servers: The art of flight prediction
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/18/lohan_flight_prediction/

Daniel, then M6DRX, was one of three pupils at the Reading School who in 2010 built the Alien-1 high altitude balloon
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/may2010/alien_1_launch.htm

CUSF Landing Predictor
http://predict.habhub.org/

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:
ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

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Ofcom: Licence exemption in 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz bands

Thursday 19th December 2013

Ofcom has published a consultation proposing technical conditions for Short Range Devices (SRDs) that will enable their licence-exempt use in the frequency bands 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz.

Where possible, these proposals are based on conclusions reached by the Conference of European Posts and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), but Ofcom has also undertaken its own studies for apparatus unique to the UK in these frequency bands.

The consultation closes on 19 February 2014.

Technical Proposals PDF
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/
short-range-devices/summary/872_915_MHz.pdf


Licence Exempt 870 to 876 MHz and 915 to 921 MHz Consultation
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/short-range-devices/

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Radio hams fret over G.fast interference

Thursday 19th December 2013

The Register reports that radio amateurs are watching the emerging G.fast standard with apprehension

Richard Chirgwin says their worry, as outlined by UK interference-watcher forum Interference.org.uk, is that aside from notches for FM radio and Digital Audio Broadcast frequencies, the new fibre-to-the-X standard won't be required to stay away from Ham Radio frequencies.

Read The Register article at
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/05/
radio_amateurs_fret_over_gfast_interference/


UKQRM are a group fighting this interference
http://www.ukqrm.org.uk/

UKQRM Yahoo Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UKQRM/

Interference Forum
http://interference.org.uk/

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Breaking news from the land of Santa Claus

Thursday 19th December 2013

OF9X – OLD FATHER 9 XMAS

Do you remember the Ho-Ho Santa Claus who penetrated the bands and talked to children all over the world from Santa’s homeland - Finnish Lapland?

If you don't – just refresh your memory at QRZ.com (www.qrz.com/db/OF9X).

Santa's helpers are now whispering that the white-bearded Old Man will be on the air this year again. The focus is on this coming weekend to remind you of the fun period of Christmas and to create the right spirit for families with children throughout the world. Just as last year, this will happen on the radio waves and hopefully on a variety of bands.
Not many people knew then that Santa can even send Morse code!

Already tonight and over the next few days, Santa will appear around 14.235 kHz while loading up his sleigh for the weekend's world tour.

Just go for it and get involved – let your children or grandchildren feel the true coming of Christmas and the presence of Santa Claus.

The upcoming Friday announcement may again include Santa's personal token to those who truly believe in Santa Claus.

Season's Greetings from the Land of Santa Claus!

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Ed Vaizey delays DAB switchover

Wednesday 18th December 2013

The switchover to DAB had originally been penciled in for 2015 but the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey has avoided setting a deadline

We know at some point in the future AM transmissions and the National Services on FM will be shut down and will only be available on DAB but the Coalition Government has avoided setting a date.

The closing down of the national FM services of the BBC and the only commercial national broadcaster Classic FM would free up a large amount of spectrum in FM Band II which could be used for alternative local services.

Each of the four BBC national FM networks occupies an exclusive 2 MHz of spectrum. The more efficient Classic FM national network occupies just 1.6 MHz with a number of local stations also interleaved within their allocation. Potentially up to 9.6 MHz of spectrum could become available to provide listeners with more choice when these national services become DAB only.

Additionally the Coalition Government did not give any indication as to when the current obsolete DAB system would be replaced by the modern high-performance DAB+ standard used in other countries which could offer four times more spectrum efficiency. There have been calls for the UK to adopt DAB+ since 2006.

On their website Radio Today report:

Ed Vaizey has confirmed the Government’s vision of a digital future for radio but said he wanted to continue to improve the service, and reach coverage and listening criteria before a radio switchover.

This means the radio industry has no deadline to work towards, but will continue as it has been doing for over a decade in trying to build a better digital radio experience for listeners.

The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries confirmed that we are not ready for a radio switchover and that consumer listening and DAB coverage criteria would need to be met in order for switchover dates to be set. He said that funding was in place for Ofcom to develop a route to digital for small local stations. The Minister stated that the DVLA was preparing to include information about digital radio in all vehicle tax reminders.


No switchover date for DAB, Vaizey says
http://radiotoday.co.uk/2013/12/
no-switchover-date-for-dab-vaizey-says/


Go Digital Day: Ed Vaizey's speech in full
http://radiotoday.co.uk/2013/12/digital-day-ed-vaizeys-speech-in-full/

Analogue radio will continue in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/16/
minister_kicks_dab_can_miles_down_the_road/


Read the Essex Ham article at
http://www.essexham.co.uk/news/no-date-for-the-dab-switchover.html

Save Analogue Radio campaign

A National Campaign to maintain essential traditional analogue broadcast radio for everyday listening and for use in times of national emergencies.

The pressure is on to replace traditional analogue radio broadcasting with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio.

Indeed, the UK Government has provisionally set 2015 as the date when the world wide standard frequency modulation (f.m.) services are to disappear from the Band II 87.5 to 108MHz (v.h.f. f.m. band), to be replaced with DAB radio transmissions.

Eventually, the analogue services on long waves (198kHz) and medium waves (500kHz to 1.6MHz) will also be replaced by digital transmissions.

Obsolete radio receivers:

Several million non-DAB equipped radio receivers could be made obsolete, if the Band II plans are implemented – requiring people of all income groups to purchase new receivers. The 'digital effect' is already apparent as very few manufacturers now produce analogue-only receivers.

Practical considerations and technical difficulties:

Unfortunately, the Government's plans don't take into account the large number of practical considerations and technical difficulties involved with the present forms of digital transmissions – particularly when radio broadcasting is involved because of the 'digital delay' effect (known as Latency). The problems are likely to be difficult to overcome because most listeners use portable receivers, utilising simple antennas (aerials).

So, in response to the Government's proposals I am planning to organise a national campaign urging the Government to retain analogue broadcasting on Band II v.h.f. f.m. and on long and medium waves, while maintaining the DAB radio services on Band III.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need further information on the complex problems that are in store for the radio listener in the UK – if the Government's seemingly ill-considered plans proceed.

Thank you.

Rob Mannion, G3XFD

Dr. R. B. Mannion G3XFD
Editor Practical Wireless magazine

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African tour update

Wednesday 18th December 2013

Operators Mathias DJ2HD and Ulmar DK1CE, will once again be active as V5/DJ2HD and V5/DK1CE from Namibia between now and January 18th (2014). This is just one part of their 4x4 trip through different African countries.

Activity will be holiday style on CW, SSB and RTTY, but will also include a SSB entry in the DARC 10m Contest (January 14th).

During this time frame, Mathias and Ulmar will also travel to and be active as 7P8DJ and 7P8CE, respectively, from Lesotho between December 22-24th.

Their plans also include to be active from South Africa (as ZS/DJ2HD and ZS/DK1CE).

Mathias/DJ2HD and Ulmar/DK1CE will be joined by Wolfgang/DH3WO and will be active from Botswana between December 24-30th, signing A25DJ, A25CE and A25WO, respectively.

QSL all callsigns via their home callsigns, direct or by the Bureau.

OPDX

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DXCC News

Wednesday 18th December 2013

Bill Moore, NC1L, ARRL Awards Branch Manager, reports that the following operations are approved for DXCC credit:

9X0XA - Rwanda; 2013 Operation
T6TM - Afghanistan; Current operation
VU7AG – Lakshadweep Islands; November 20th-December 10th, 2013

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December 432 and Above EME Newsletter

Wednesday 18th December 2013

The December issue of the free amateur radio 432 MHz and Above EME Newsletter is now available

The Word and PDF formats the newsletter can be downloaded from
http://www.nitehawk.com/rasmit/em70cm.html

Previous newsletters are at
http://www.nitehawk.com/rasmit/em70cm_arc.html

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The Register loses Bill Ray

Wednesday 18th December 2013

Bill Ray, one of the few technical journalists to write about amateur radio, left The Register at the end of October

His amateur radio articles can be still be read on The Register website at
http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=amateur+radio&advanced=1&psite=
0&author=bill+ray&date=the+dawn+of+time&site=
0&results_per_page=20


His leaving article is at
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/25/on_saying_goodbye/

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ADS-B Virtual Radar RTL-SDR tutorial

Wednesday 18th December 2013

The RTL-SDR website reports the ARRL has put online an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast ADS-B tutorial featured in their monthly magazine QST

Read the RTL-SDR story at
http://www.rtl-sdr.com/ads-b-virtual-radar-rtl-sdr-tutorial-arrl/

ARRL January QST article Virtual Radar from a Digital TV Dongle
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/QST/This%20Month%20in%20QST/
January%202014/VirtualRadarJan2013QST.pdf

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IRCs about to expire

Wednesday 18th December 2013

Jess, KR4OJ, informs OPDX: "As almost everyone knows, IRCs purchased after January 2009, are due to expire on December 31, 2013.

I had several and went to my local post office to cash them in.  Of course, they had no idea what an IRC was, and had never heard of them. After some phone calls, they finally acknowledged them, but DID NOT want to redeem them for full value.

To save yourself some time and to get the full current value of your IRCs, in the USA, ($1.10) go to the following USPS bulletin, print and carry it with you. You can get $$$, however I just swapped mine for the new 'Universal' Forever Stamp."

http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immc3_020.htm#ep392074

OPDX

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RSGB Board proceedings - Candidate numbers fall

Tuesday 17th December 2013

The October RSGB Board proceedings record that in the year to the end of September 2013, there had been a reduction in the number of exam candidates (and those who passed) of 3% compared to 2012

RSGB membership recruitment in September was subdued but the number of members who left the society was less than in the corresponding month in 2012.

The General Manager reported a member had approached John Regnault G4SWX after his talk on Remote Operation at the Convention to discuss whether the G5RL legacy could be used for giving remote access via clubs. The Board agreed that a feasibility or project definition study should be undertaken.

Proceedings of the RSGB Board meeting held October 19, 2013
https://thersgb.org/membersonly/board/proceedings-and-reports/
10-19-2013-board-proceedings.pdf


John Regnault G4SWX will be giving his presentation titled "Building a Remotely Operated Amateur Radio Station" to the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) on Tuesday, January 7, see
http://www.g0mwt.org.uk/future-meetings/index.htm

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

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RSGB Board thanks G3WKL

Tuesday 17th December 2013

At its November meeting the RSGB Board thanked John Gould G3WKL for all he had done on the RSGB Centenary activity

At the meeting the General Manager highlighted that the Bletchley Park lease was still unsigned. It was noted that Bletchley Park had changed the solicitors who were acting for them in the matter.

Proceedings of the RSGB Board meeting held November 16, 2013
https://thersgb.org/membersonly/board/
proceedings-and-reports/11-16-2013-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 amateurs under the age of 21 and to licensed amateurs aged 21-25 in full time education
http://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/PDF/join_us_form_junior.pdf

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Ofcom-RSGB Forum

Tuesday 17th December 2013

The RSGB report a routine quarterly meeting was held with representatives of Ofcom on December 5, 2013

A wide range of issues affecting radio amateurs as well as changes to the regulations governing the use of CB Radio were discussed.

Read the RSGB report at
http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/rsgb-notices/2013/12/10/
ofcom-rsgb-forum-5-december-2013/

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AmateurLogic.TV 61: Echolink Pi and TVduino

Tuesday 17th December 2013

It’s the AmateurLogic Christmas Spectacular. Join the crew and special guest for a festive holiday event.

Peter hacks his Degen SW Receiver. Tommy puts the Arduino on TV. George trudges on in his effort to use the Raspberry Pi as an Echolink node. And a hilarious look at the 2013 ALTV Holiday Gift Guide.

A 1:13:08 AmateurLogic celebration of the season and other good stuff.

Download

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Ofcom: 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz bands

Tuesday 17th December 2013

Ofcom has published a statement on its decision to introduce a mixed management approach in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz bands

This decision follows a consultation on the review of the these bands initiated by Ofcom’s Spectrum Review of December 2012, which had identified the need to reassess the management approach for these bands in order to meet fixed-link requirements for 4G backhaul.

Ofcom‘s decision retains a self coordinated interference management approach in parts of the bands and introduces an Ofcom coordinated interference management approach in other parts of the bands.

Read the statement at
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/
70-80ghz-review/statement/


The Amateur and Amateur Satellite services have both Primary and Secondary allocations in 75.5 - 81 GHz.

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Short-path summer solstice propagation (SSSP)

Monday 16th December 2013

In June 1999, around the equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, a Japanese radio amateur, Han Higasa, JE1BMJ, heard a European TV station on 48,250 MHz. He immediately gave a CQ call on 50,110 MHz, and to his surprise Toivo, OH7PI, came back to him and they had the first-ever QSO on this unexpected mode on 50 MHz.

Since then every year around equinox time many QSO's have been made between Japan and Europe, and eventually extended to North America.

Han, JE1BMJ, suggested that amateurs in the southern hemisphere should also look out for SSSP during their summer solstice in December. Since 2009 Australian and New Zealand amateurs have logged many South American stations on 50 MHz SSSP too. These SSSP openings in the southern hemisphere occurred between 8 December and 12 January, but not every day.

To explore the possibility of SSSP propagation between Australia and South Africa, ZS2FM ran CW tests around our December 2010 equinox with amateurs in Perth, Western Australia. Unfortunately they did not receive anything, but a report came from Frank, VK7DX, at Hobart in Tasmania, that he saw traces of a signal on the WSJT waterfall, on the correct frequency, the right time and in the direction of South Africa, but he could not identify the call sign.

Maybe some keen amateurs on our east coast could pick up the baton and transmit some signals on 50,110 MHz to VK in the mornings around this equinox period and see what happens.

The South African Radio League

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DXCC News (Deadline Reminder!)

Monday 16th December 2013

Bill Moore, NC1L, ARRL Awards Branch Manager, reports:

"This is a reminder to all DXCC program participants that the deadline for the 2013 calendar year ends on Tuesday December 31, 2013. In order to appear in the Annual Listing, published in the electronic version of the DXCC Yearbook, you must have your submission post-marked no later than December 31, 2013.

"Since the DXCC workload usually peaks around this time each year I recommend that applicants not wait until the last minute to get their submissions in. Besides being the heavy period for DXCC, keep in mind that it is also around the holidays so the post office can contribute to any delays in getting mail to DXCC."

For more and complete details, see the DXCC Blog at:
http://www.arrl.org/dxcc-blog

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EMC Journal closes down

Monday 16th December 2013

After 18 years of publication the EMC Journal has closed, the final edition is now available for download

The first issue was published by Nutwood UK Limited in March 1995 and since then the same team of three people have produced 109 issues.
The combined ages of the three team members is 205 and they feel it is time to take a rest - Nutwood UK is closing down.

The last issue contains:

- Is there a case for simulation validation of measurements?

- Suppressing emissions by using data scrambling and spread-spectrum hardware design techniques

- Know Your Standards

- John Woodgate's Column

- Plus the usual News, Product Gallery and Banana Skins.

Download the final EMC journal at
http://www.compliance-club.com/pdf/Issue109.PDF

A collection of PLT articles from the journal is available at
http://www.nutwooduk.co.uk/default.aspx?id=17

EMC Information Centre
http://www.compliance-club.com/

EMC Journal - Why Ofcom is not fit for purpose
http://www.compliance-club.com/pdf/Issue85.PDF

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 16th December 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 8th-December, through Sunday, 15th-December there were 217 countries active.

Countries available:

3A, 3B8, 3B9, 3V, 3W, 3X, 4J, 4L, 4O, 4S, 4U1I, 4X, 5A, 5B, 5R, 5T, 5W, 5Z, 6W, 6Y, 7X, 8P, 8R, 9A, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9L, 9M2, 9M6, 9V, 9X, 9Y,

A4, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C3, C5, C6, C9, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D4, DL, DU, E5/s, E6, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EP, ER, ES, EU, EX, EZ, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FR, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HH, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, J6, J7, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JY,

K, KG4, KH0, KH2, KH6, KL, KP2, KP4, LA, LU, LX, LY, LZ, OA, OD, OE, OH, OH0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ7, PY, PZ, S2, S5, S7, S9, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T2, T32, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TR, TT, TU, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VP2E, VP2V, VP5, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9, VR, VU, VU7, XE, XU, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z2, Z3, ZA, ZB, ZC4, ZD7, ZF, ZL, ZP, ZS, ZS8

PLEASE NOTE: The report "could" contain "Pirate/SLIM" operations or more likely a "BUSTED CALLSIGN". As always, you never know - "Work First Worry Later" (WFWL).

OPDX

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IOTA News from OPDX

Monday 16th December 201

Island activities:

AS-015. Richard, PA0RRS, will once again be active as 9M2MRS from Penang Island between December 31st and February 3rd (2014). Activity will be on 40-10 meters using CW, RTTY and PSK.
He states that he will do special requests on SSB (but not preferred).
His equipment is a Yaesu FT450d (100w) with a YT450 antenna tuner into a G5RV junior (40-10 meter) antenna which he will put up on the balcony of his hotel [with a lot of bents, but it had worked 'OK' last year].
QSL via his home callsign, by the Bureau, the OQRS on ClubLog (preferred) or direct to: Rich Smeets, C. Gerlingsstraat 60, 5121 ZR Rijen,
The Netherlands (due to new postal rates there is a need for return postagem of 2.00 USDs or 1 NEW IRC -- in all cases via Clublog (OQRS) is much cheaper!). Log will also be uploaded to LoTW later.

AS-124. Members of the Emirates Amateur Radio Society (EARS) will be
active as A63RI from Dibba Rock Island between December 19-23rd.
Activity will be on all HF bands using CW and SSB. QSL via IZ8CLM.

AS-153. Operators Ariff/VU3ARF and Asish/VU2GMT will be active as
VU3ARF/p from Jambudwip Island (WWFF VUFF-091), an island that has never been activated in the West Bengal State IOTA Group, between July 23-31st. Activity will be on 40-10 meters using CW and SSB. They will be an entry in the RSGB IOTA Contest (July 26-27th). QSL via VU3ARF, by the Bureau or direct to: Ariff Mohammad, 72/A Elliot Road, Calcutta 700016, India. For updates, watch:
http://vu3arf.org/

EU-045. Luigi, IK8HCG, will be active as IB0R from Ventotene Island
(IIA LT-011, MIA MI-118, WWFF IFF-110) during the RSGB IOTA Contest (July 26-27th, 2014) as a Single-Op entry. QSL via his home callsign direct ONLY.

OC-272. (Postponed) Operators Budi/YF1AR, Imam/YF4IR and Joppy/YB8XM were expected to be active from Kisar Island between December 21-25th, but had to "postpone due to a new assignment".
Visit their Web site at:
http://www.yf1ar.com/2013/12/kisar-island-oc-272-new-iota.html

SA-025. Operators Raimundo/PT7CG and Renner/PY7RP will be active as
ZX8DX from Pedra do Sal Beach on Grande de Santa Isabel Island between December 26-30th. Activity will be on all the HF bands using SSB. QSL via PT7CG.

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VK waits for full return of 6 metres

Sunday 15th December 2013

With only digital television being available in Australia from 10 December, and the loss of the last TV transmitter Channel 0, it does not automatically mean the unfettered return of 50-52 MHz to the amateur radio service.

Restrictions are listed in the Licence Conditions Determination (LCD) on operation of amateur stations in Australia's eastern states on the lower end of six metres remain effectively in force until the document is changed by the Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Channel 0 came on air in Australia in the 1960s, which meant radio amateurs lost the bottom 2 MHz of 6-metres.

Australia expanded its TV analogue allocation because of the need for more channels and so was borne 45-50 MHz or Channel 0, initially for commercial telecasters, then the Special Broadcasting Service, and for translators.

The Melbourne and Brisbane telecasters left Channel 0 and became Channel 10, while the gap was filled by SBS, with it eventually settling on UHF Channel 28.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) has long argued that the 50-54 MHz band should be retained for, and allocated exclusively to the amateur service, once the existing Channel 0 transmitters are removed.

The 50 MHz or so-called 'magic band' is important to radio amateurs because it provides unique opportunities for propagation experiments.

The WIA has again written to the ACMA seeking the unrestricted return of the band. The latest letter on the subject last month is yet to be answered.

The ACMA reminded all in July this year of their LCD obligations in relation to the 6m restrictions.

On previous occasions the limited resources of the ACMA have meant the change waits until the Australian Radio Frequency Spectrum Plan is amended, and that usually occurs in January.

The WIA has made a number of submissions to the ACMA on the subject over the years seeking a harmonisation in Australia with the practice overseas.

The WIA is also to amend the Regulations licence assessment questions to reflect any change, while at the same time it will beef up its electromagnetic radiation emphasis in the papers from 2014.

Jim Linton VK3PC

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Studies of ionograms show supremacy of 5 MHz band

Sunday 15th December 2013

The ionograms generated by the South African ionosonde network clearly illustrate the supremacy of the 5 MHz band for short range, near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) communications under certain conditions.

These typically happens during the morning and late afternoon when the 7 MHz band does not support short range, sky wave communications and the 3.5 and 1.8 MHz bands suffer from high noise levels.

During the middle of the day the 7 MHz (and 10 MHz during high solar activity) band is typically the most effective medium for short range, sky wave communications.

Permanent access to the 5 MHz band will ensure that the amateur radio community can efficiently contribute to emergencies requiring short distance communications beyond line-of-sight as typically required in hilly and mountainous terrain.

The South African ionosonde network is unique in Africa and place South African radio amateurs in the very fortunate position to monitor reigning, short range propagation conditions and to improve their skills and experience accordingly.

An article by Hannes Coetzee illustrated with ionograms is available for download on the SARL 5 MHZ propagation Research page. Follow the link from the SARL home page.

The South African Radio League

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Will XZ-land open up soon?

Saturday 14th December 2013

There are signs from Myanmar or Burma indicating that normalised Amateur Radio may be returning to that Asian country soon, after decades of little activity.

Burma, the former British colony gained independence in 1948. The government has been under direct or indirect control of the military since 1962.

Following 2010 elections and then by-elections in 2012, the mixed civilian-military government has opened the international airport at Nay Pyi Daw, the capital of the country, and hosted the Southeast Asian Games and the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

A modern country is emerging wanting foreign investment and tourism. Among its reforms it admits many challenges lie ahead. A likely election of a new President is due in 2015.

This year also saw activity led by Zorro Miyazawa JH1AJT initially as XZ1Z and later a multi-member team as XZ1Z. Over the years a few foreigners have been heard with XZ callsigns but the activity is not fully open Amateur Radio. The Posts and Telecommunications Department, under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in October enacted the new Telecoms Law for Myanmar. It has been busy with its introduction ever since.

The country has been hit by natural disasters. Lately it used some resources including a warning system network to watch for adverse weather and seismic activity. A possible future role for hams exists.

British radio amateur Simon Butterill HS0ZIB/G6JFY regularly visited from Thailand and was allowed to sign XZ1K in May 2012, in a southern state of the country.

He mounted a PSK31 operation XZ1K from southern town of Kawthaung logging several hundred QSOs on 10m and 20m. A doubt has arisen about the authority that allowed the XZ1K licence.

Simon HS0ZIB/G6JFY, in the region since 2002, then moved to live and work in Myanmar as a Vice-Principal of a school in Yangon (Rangoon). Unfortunately, despite many attempts, he was then unable to get a licence, and left after 12 months returning to Thailand.

In January 2014 he will return to work in Yangon for at least six months, and try to obtain a XZ ham licence to operate from that city.

In April 2013, Simon HS0ZIB/G6JFY began the Myanmar Amateur Radio Club and announced it has a motto of 'Friendship & Knowledge Through Amateur Radio' and aims to represent all interested in the re-introduction of Amateur Radio.

The club wants licences to be available for qualified individuals, operating under the domestic law, plus the guidelines and band plans of the International Amateur Radio Region 3.

It seems that one of the current prerequisites required for official permission to operate is being involved in Burmese society.

In August 2013 Zorro JA1AJT had permission to operate as XZ1Z, and returned to air in September that year also as XZ1Z. He had been on a mission for the Foundation for Global Children.

A full-scale XZ1J operation led by him on November 15-26 saw a multimember team on HF, SSB, CW and RTTY claiming more than 53,000 QSOs.

There seems to be little known openly about what steps are being taken to re-activate Amateur Radio in that country, or interest from outside being shown by those who may have some influence.

The world is watching for further developments in XZ-land, the success of Simon HS0ZIB/G6JFY in his latest licence bid and any progress made by the Myanmar Amateur Radio Club.

Jim Linton VK3PC

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Ofcom: If in doubt – report your phone as lost or stolen

Saturday 14th December 2013

With the festive season in full swing, people up and down the country will be out socialising or hitting the high street to do their Christmas shopping.

At this time of year, however, consumers can be particularly vulnerable to mobile phone theft, with opportunist thieves preying on distracted shoppers or partygoers.

Not only are many mobile handsets worth hundreds of pounds and costly to replace, thieves can very quickly run up high bills on stolen phones.

Ofcom’s latest consumer research reveals that consumers pay, on average, an additional unexpected £65 on their bill as a result of losing or having their mobile phone stolen.

However, consumer complaints highlight that, in some instances, charges from unauthorised use of lost and stolen phones can present consumers with unexpected bills of hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

Reducing the chances of ‘bill shock’ when a phone goes missing

Waiting to see if the phone turns up and failing to report it quickly can be a costly mistake.

Currently, consumers are liable for all charges incurred up until the point they report the phone as lost or stolen to their provider, including those they have not authorised.

Ofcom has expressed its concern about the unlimited liability that consumers face for unauthorised use of a lost or stolen phone up to the point that the phone is reported. Ofcom is therefore fully supportive of the recent agreement between government and industry1 to work towards the introduction of a monetary cap on a customer’s liability in the event a mobile phone gets lost or stolen.

In the meantime, Ofcom today has a clear message for consumers – if you think that your mobile phone is lost or has been stolen, do not wait to see if it turns up – report it to your provider immediately.

Providers can put a bar on the mobile phone’s SIM to stop calls being made on it. This is usually easily reversible if the phone is later found, but consumers should check with their individual provider that this is the case.

Providers can also stop thieves from using the handset on other UK networks by blocking its IMEI – a 15-digit serial number unique to each handset.

Consumers with mobile phone insurance may also be obliged to let their insurer know if their phone is lost or stolen within a certain time frame too.2

Top tips on mobile phone security

Ofcom’s has published a consumer guide offering advice on how to keep a mobile phone safe and help protect against unauthorised use.

Top tips include:

  • treat your phone as carefully as you would your bank or credit cards. Make sure that you always take care when using your phone in public, and don’t let it out of your possession;

  • put a passcode on both your handset and SIM to make it more difficult for thieves to use;

  • make a record of your phone’s IMEI number, as well as the make and model number. The IMEI is a unique 15-digit serial number which you will need to get the handset blocked. You can get your IMEI number by keying *#06# into your handset or by looking behind your phone battery;

  • consider barring calls to international and premium rate numbers (numbers which offer services you are charged for through your monthly phone bill or through credit on your mobile phone) to limit the risk of large bills being run up on your phone by thieves;

  • check the terms and conditions if you have an existing mobile phone insurance policy, or when considering a new policy as some insurers may provide cover for unauthorised use;

  • consider using apps which can trace your phone if it is lost/stolen and can wipe details from it remotely; and

  • register your phone with Immobilise, which is a database containing the details of millions of mobile phones and other property. This can help the police to identify the owners of lost & stolen property.

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ZS9MADIBA

Friday 13th December 2013

ZS9MADIBA - Special call sign to celebrate President Nelson Mandela's legacy - The SARL will be operating special event stations from around South Africa using the call sign ZS9MADIBA.

Members of the SARL are invited to apply for time slots to operate ZS9MIDIBA from their own shacks.

QSLing is via the bureau or by sending your QSL to SARL, P O Box 1721, Strubensvallei 1735, South Africa. You may also use Logbook of the World. To receive the special QSL card by mail, include $1 for postage.

ZS9MADIBA is the South African Radio League Special Event Station commemorating the life and recent passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, elder statesman and first democratically-elected President of the Republic of South Africa.

Affectionately referred to as “Madiba”, he became one of the most recognised leaders in the world and was instrumental in the peaceful transition of South Africa from minority rule to a constitutional democracy. South Africans join the people of the world in mourning his passing and celebrating his legacy.

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Radio rebels fight against digital

Friday 13th December 2013

Next week the government will set out its plans to switch off FM transmitters in favour of digital radio signals.

But many people are still reliant on analogue radios. An estimated 95% of cars lack DAB equipment, and some people are rebelling against the FM switch-off.

At the forefront of the fight is former Practical Wireless editor Rob Mannion, G3XFD.

In this BBC News video, reporter David Silito meets Rob and takes a look inside his shack
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25344947

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FUNcube-1 Whole Orbit Data available

Friday 13th December 2013

The Data Warehouse now provides the facility to download FUNcube-1 (AO-73) Whole Orbit Data (WOD) as a .csv file.

The file is produced at 23:59 every day and
contains data for the preceding 24 hours.
It contains all the channels shown on the WOD graph, which shows the latest orbit data captured.

The WOD page is at
https://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/wod.html

Please read the notes on the page regarding the times stored in the file.

FUNcube Yahoo Group
http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

FUNcube http://www.funcube.org.uk/

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WRAPS: a portable satellite antenna rotator system

Friday 13th December 2013

The January 2014 edition of QST contains an article by ARRL Education and Technology Program Coordinator Mark Spencer WA8SME on a portable azimuth and elevation rotator system for tracking satellites called WRAPS

WRAPS stands for Wobbler RadFxSat Antenna Pointing System rotator system which Mark developed to support tracking CubeSats such as FUNcube-1 and the upcoming Fox-1 and RadFxSat/Fox-1B. His target audience includes school groups who want to access the capabilities of the CubeSats.

Thanks to Mark and the ARRL a copy of the article in PDF format is available on the AMSAT-UK website along with a video of a presentation Mark gave on the system, see
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/12/
wraps-a-portable-satellite-antenna-rotator-system/


It is planned that WRAPS will be available at a later date from the AMSAT-NA Store, see
http://store.amsat.org/catalog/

AMSAT-UK http://www.amsat-uk.org/

ARRL http://www.arrl.org/

ARRL International Membership with a digital version of the monthly QST magazine cost $39 (£25)

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The Geminid meteor shower is underway

Friday 13th December 2013

Earth is entering a stream of debris from 'rock comet' 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower.

Wednesday night, NASA cameras recorded more than a dozen fireballs over the USA. Geminid activity should remain relatively high for the next three or four nights, with a peak expected on Dec. 13-14.

Check http://spaceweather.com for more information and observing tips.

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Radio Spectrum Policy Group

Thursday 12th December 2013

The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) is a high-level advisory group that assists the European Commission in the development of radio spectrum policy

RSPG Report on Strategic Sectoral Spectrum Needs November 12, 2013
https://circabc.europa.eu/d/d/workspace/SpacesStore/
f15d622c-183f-44d4-8412-19f2335a714d/RSPG13-540rev2_RSPG%20
Report%20on%20Sectoral%20needs.pdf


Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG)
http://rspg-spectrum.eu/

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Ofcom: Licence Progression

Wednesday 11th December 2013

During the wide ranging debate about the forthcoming Amateur Radio Licence review by Ofcom, several amateurs have been in touch with the RSGB

They have expressed concern that they will either be required to progress to become Full Licencees or to surrender their Foundation or Intermediate Licence and give up the hobby.

In response Ofcom have provided a statement which can be read on the RSGB website at
http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/headlines/2013/12/10/
licence-progression/

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Ofcom: SSB and AM for Citizens' Band (CB) radio

Wednesday 11th December 2013

Ofcom has published a statement confirming its plans to amend current regulations for Citizens’ Band (CB) Radio in the UK, to allow the use of a wider range of transmission standards

CB radio is a system of short-distance radio communications between individuals.

The use of Amplitude Modulation (AM), Double-sideband (DSB) and Single-sideband (SSB) transmission standards will be allowed on CB radio, which will bring the UK in line with other European countries.

Ofcoms proposed changes will allow CB users to run a higher power output than holders of the UK Foundation amateur radio licence.

95% of respondents to the Ofcom consultation supported the use of AM and SSB on CB.

Read the Ofcom statement at
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/
citizens-band-radio/statement/

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Could you write software for IOTA?

Tuesday 10th December 2013

IOTA urgently needs developers to work on coding for the IOTA website.

Volunteers should be reasonably familiar with MySQL, PHP and JavaScript. The code is version controlled using Github so familiarity with this would also be useful.

IOTA operates on a tiny budget so the role is primarily for volunteers.

Please contact iota.online<at>rsgb.org.uk if you think you may be able to help.

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Putin liquidates the Voice of Russia

Tuesday 10th December 2013

The Voice of Russia will be a part of an extensive reorganization within the network of Russian state-run news agencies

Read the SWL Post's article 'Putin liquidates the Voice of Russia, absorbed by Rossia Segodnya newswire' at
http://wp.me/pn3uc-28z

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Congolese club back on the air

Monday 9th December 2013

OPDX report that, earlier in the week, there were a few reports stating that after 3 years of negotiations with the Congolese government and official approval from the Ministry of Telecom (ARPTC) the national club station 9Q0AR and its special callsign 9Q0HQ were finally given permission to operate again.

This would be great and also the first legal activity from 9Q-land in several years.

On QRZ.com (under 9Q0AR) it suggests to listen on 21310 kHz between 1000-1400z.

OPDX

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 9th December 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 1st-December, through Sunday, 8th-December there were 228 countries active.

Countries available:

3A, 3B8, 3B9, 3D2, 3D2/r, 3DA, 3V, 3W, 4J, 4L, 4O, 4S, 4U1I, 4X, 5B, 5R, 5T, 5U, 5V, 5W, 5X, 5Z, 6W, 6Y, 7Q, 7X, 8P, 8R, 9A, 9G, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9L, 9M2, 9M6, 9V, 9X, 9Y,

A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C3, C5, C6, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D4, DL, DU, E5/s, E6, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EL, EP, ER, ES, EU, EX, EY, EZ, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FR, FS, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HH, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, J5, J6, J7, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JY,

K, KG4, KH0, KH2, KH6, KL, KP2, KP4, LA, LU, LX, LY, LZ, OA, OD, OE, OH, OH0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ5, PJ7, PY, PZ, S2, S5, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T32, T5, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TN, TR, TT, TU, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VP2E, VP2V, VP5, VP8, VP8/h, VP9,
VR, VU, VU7, XE, XT, XU, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YK, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z3, ZA, ZB, ZD7, ZD8, ZF, ZL, ZP, ZS, ZS8

PLEASE NOTE: The report "could" contain "Pirate/SLIM" operations or more likely a "BUSTED CALLSIGN". As always, you never know - "Work First Worry Later" (WFWL).

OPDX

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RSGB IET Lectures available

Saturday 7th December 2013

The BATC has made available videos from the RSGB Centenary event held on December 5, 2013 at Imperial College, London

Three videos are available:
- “Amateur Radio: a 100 years of introducing technology“ by Peter Chadwick G3RZP
- “Amateur Radio: looking to the future“ by Lee Hudson, M0LMH
- Questions & Discussion and closing remarks by Bob Whelan, G3PJT, RSGB President

You can either watch them online or download them to a PC, by following these steps:

1) Go to http://batc.tv/
2) Click on the "Film Archive" icon near top left
3) Select "RSGBIET Meeting" from the Category drop down menu
4) Click on the "Select Category" button
5) Select the video required from the Stream drop down menu
6) Click on the "Select Stream" button
7) Click the play button or download from the link under the video

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Radio Astronomy magazine available

Saturday 7th December 2013

The Vol 1 Issue 2, Dec 2013 issue of RAGazine is now available

The publication by the British Astronomical Association Radio Astronomy Group (BAA-RAG) can be downloaded in both hi-res and lo-res versions.

Lo-res 4 MB
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5266466/RAGazine/
MS%20Pub%20RAGazine%20Dec%2013%20rC%20%20%20lo-res.pdf


Hi-res 9 MB
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5266466/RAGazine/MS%20Pub
%20RAGazine%20Dec%2013%20rC%20%20%20%20hi-res.pdf


Issue 1 is on the BAA-RAG site at
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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Austral Islands DXpedition

Saturday 7th December 2013

A group of six amateur radio operators from the UK will operate from the island of Raivavae (OC-114, DIFO FO-122, WLOTA 2581), in the Australs, from 20th March until 1st April, all bands CW, SSB and RTTY.

The operators are Don G3BJ, Chris G3SVL, Nigel G3TXF, David G3WGN, Don G3XTT, Hilary G4JKS and Justin G4TSH.

They plan to run up to three stations, each consisting of a K3 plus amplifier. Antennas will consist of various vertical systems on the beach.

The team will upload logs to Clublog and, bandwidth permitting, will also be uploading to LoTW as the expedition progresses. QSLs will be handled by G3TXF and requests can be made directly or via the Clublog OQRS facility.

After the DXpedition most members of the team will be attending the International DX Convention at Visalia.

A website will be launched with further details once the callsign and other details are confirmed.

ICPO

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IARUMS Newsletter now available

Saturday 7th December 2013

The IARU Monitoring System (IARUMS) newsletter reports a new Multitone system on 10 MHz and the successful removal of a 7 MHz transmission from a base in Cyprus

The multitone system appeared on 10107.6 kHz on Nov. 14. Parameters: 2 x 34 tones and a centered gap. Location: Moscow, purpose unknown.

IARUMS also report a solution to the Stanag 4285 transmission in 40m from Cyprus. Peter Jost HB9CET, found the Stanag 4285 (PSK8, 2300 Bd, 2400 Hz, 600 bps long) on 7101.8 kHz on Nov. 4. Bearings showed Cyprus.

IARUMS Region 1 Co-ordinator Wolfgang Hadel DK2OM informed Chris Cummings G4BOH of the UK Monitoring System. Chris phoned the Ofcom Baldock Radio Monitoring Station and a few minutes later the Stanag 4285 transmission disappeared.

The International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) Region 1 November 2013 newsletter can be read at
http://www.iarums-r1.org/iarums/news2013/news1311.pdf

Please log your reports of Amateur Band intruders online at
http://peditio.net/intruder/bluechat.cgi

Monitor the short wave bands on-line with a web based SDR receiver at
http://www.websdr.org/

IARU Monitoring System (IARUMS)
http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php?option=com_content
&view=category&layout=blog&id=39&Itemid=87

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Plans announced to update the Communications Act of 1934

Friday 6th December 2013

The US House Communications and Technology Subcommittee has announced plans for a multi-year effort to examine and update the Communications Act of 1934, the overarching law under which the FCC functions.

The subcommittee, part of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, is chaired by Oregon Republican Greg Walden, W7EQI. Walden and Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton of Michigan made the announcement December 3.

"Today we are launching a multi-year effort to examine our nation's communications laws and update them for the Internet era," Upton said in a news release. "The United States has been the global leader in innovation and growth of the Internet, but unfortunately, our communications laws have failed to keep pace."

ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, noted that the most recent significant update of the Communications Act was in 1996. "Under the leadership of Greg Walden, the subcommittee and its staff are well equipped to take up the challenge," Sumner said. "The ARRL will be monitoring the work closely as it goes forward next year and beyond."

The plan was made public via Google Hangout, where the committee leaders were joined by former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who said he was "delighted" to learn of the update plans. Upton explained that the process, to start in 2014, will involve a series of white papers and hearings focusing on what might be done "to improve the laws surrounding the communications marketplace as well as a robust conversation utilizing all platforms of digital media." He suggested a bill would be ready by 2015.

Walden said, "A lot has happened since the last update" and that the Communications Act is "now painfully out of date." He pointed out that the Act, drafted during the Great Depression, was last updated "when 56 kilobits per second via dial-up modem was state of the art."

Upton said, "We must ensure that our laws make sense for today but are also ready for the innovations of tomorrow."

Walden said he wants to open the discussion to input from everyone. Interested parties may follow the plan's progress via Twitter.
"It's important for people to have an opportunity to weigh in," he said.  "This is really a public process to get better public policy."

Source: The American Radio Relay League

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Delfi-n3Xt update December 5

Friday 6th December 2013

Delfi Nanosatellite Program Manager, Jasper Bouwmeester PC4JB, provides this update on the Delfi-n3Xt satellite which carries a 435/145 MHz linear transponder

Dear Radio Amateurs, here is a status update about Delfi-n3Xt operations.

New DUDe telemetry client

Attached is an improved DUDe client. The phase locked loop is a bit more improved and the signal indicator is adjusted. The previous version indicated a center frequency of 1600 Hz, which was some heritage from Delfi-C3. The transmitted bandwidth of Delfi-n3Xt is about 4500 Hz, so with a center frequency of 1600 Hz the lower part of the band which would ‘virtually’ be below 0 Hz is actually reflected back inverted in the low audio frequencies causing more perceived noise. The best tuning center frequency is about 2200 Hz.

I have received many questions in the past weeks, so here are some hints to increase successful packet demodulation.

- The carrier frequency of the ITRX, which is currently the transmitter being on, is really close to 145.870 MHz. Please note however that the carrier is suppressed and we are actually transmitting in upper side band (USB). The receiver should thus be in upper side band and tuned to 145.870 MHz plus/minus Doppler. The center tuning frequency is the center of the USB signal, not the carrier. If your equipment allows this you can automate Doppler correction with e.g. WXTrack.

- The most optimal input level is when the signal strength indicator reaches about 25% of the slider. If the slider hits the red, distortion of the signal is already present. But even just below the red, we have discovered that packet loss is significant. In a next DUDe version we will adjust this slider such that it becomes intuitive again. If signal level is too high, adjust the gain of your receiver audio output first as if you are just adjusting the line-in or mic input of your sound card in the record volume control you may still overdrive your signal. This hint of course only applies to people which are not successful in receiving any other satellite (like Delfi-C3 ) yet with the same setup.

- The standard filter in the ICOM 910 receiver is about 2.5 kHz. This is too narrow for Delfi-n3Xt and demodulation becomes difficult. You will not reach a continuous packet demodulation if you do not have a bandwidth of at least 3.5 Khz. Most optimal is about 4.5 kHz.

- In case you use a software defined radio (e.g. the FunCube dongle) you can best record about 25 kHz and put a digital 4.5 kHz bandwidth filter around the signal. HDSDR software can support automated Doppler correction in combination with WXtrack.

- The TLEs have now named correctly “Delfi-n3Xt” in the TLE-new list.

- You may replay and SDR recording with DUDe open if during the pass you were not able to demodulate many packets. However, for our server it would be better to do this only once as otherwise the database will be flooded by duplicates. You can off course practice a bit first with an offline DUDe client. You can simply do this by extracting the attached zip file to a different folder an not using your log in details. In principle, an automated Doppler correction with the latest TLEs will already yield a very good result which can hardly be beaten by manual tuning.

- We kindly ask you not to share audio or SDR recordings with other radio amateurs, or at least ask them not to log in to our server with DUDe as we really would like to correlate the data to geographical location as well as the origin (see also the contest below).

Radio Amateur Contest

We are very grateful to all radio amateurs who are collecting telemetry or are attempting to. So far, we have seen less data coming from around the world than with our previous satellite Delfi-C3. Probably one of the main reasons is buggy telemetry client we have released before and the difficulties of demodulation a 2400 bit/s with many equipment. I hope the new DUDe client and the hints above will help many of you to demodulate Delfi-n3Xt data.

A possible second reason is that we are not unique anymore with the tens of CubeSats being launched in the past months. Therefore we would like to do something back to the radio amateurs taking the effort to receive our latest satellite. We will soon announce a contest where we will provide prizes to radio amateurs with high packet rates in our database. You can see the top 50 here:
http://delfi-n3xt.lr.tudelft.nl/statistics.php
.
Prizes and rules are still to be determined, but you can already start increasing your packet rates as we will start counting from the launch date. Our own ground station is of course excluded.

Satellite Status

In the past weeks we have seen that the batteries became more and more discharged. Also during passes we noticed that the incoming power was fluctuating more than expected, sometimes even causing the satellite going in to eclipse mode with the radio off in the Sun. We have discovered the cause of this. The maximum power point trackers go into an sleep mode if there is insufficient power to overcome their own consumption for 15 seconds. It is activated every 25 seconds to check the latest power status.
If the satellite is tumbling more than 14 degrees/s, this is not a problem as we reach sufficient power within 15 seconds (hence no sleep mode).
If the satellite is however tumbling between 1 deg/s and 14 deg/s, the power tracker is many times in sleep mode and misses part of the incoming energy because of the 25 seconds wait time.
Below 1 deg/s the problem becomes less again. As we are successfully detumbling to about 2-4 deg/s, but have not yet been able to tweak attitude parameters such that we go below 1 deg/s we have this issue.

We have decided to turn of the power hungry subsystems, including attitude control and S-band transmitter to recharge the batteries and think of a more sustainable solution.
Don’t be shocked if you see a lot of odd parameters, like undeployed solar panels, as these are just zeroes in the data. Please note that the S-band transmitter is currently off, so there is no signal at 2405 MHz.

73,

Jasper Bouwmeester PC4JB
Delfi Nanosatellite Program Manager &
Researcher Small Satellite Technology
Chair of Space Systems Engineering
Delft University of Technology

Telemetry reception
http://www.delfispace.nl/operations/delfi-n3xt-telemetry-reception

Delfi-n3Xt
http://www.delfispace.nl/operations/radio-amateurs

Dnepr Yasny launch
http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/dnepr-november-2013/

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MacLoggerDX HD version 1.14 for iPad released

Friday 6th December 2013

Dog Park Software is pleased to announce that version 1.14 of MacLoggerDX HD for iPad has been released and can be purchased from the iTunes Store.

http://dogparksoftware.com/MacLoggerDX_HD.html
http://appstore.com/dogparksoftwareltd/macloggerdxhd

What's new in this version ?

- Map Great Circle Propagation.
- Bug fixes.

Take MacLoggerDX Mobile!

MacLoggerDX HD is an Amateur Radio application that monitors the spots from your favourite DX Cluster for DXing, Contesting or casual rag-chewing. It Alerts you to rare contacts or band openings by looking up and displaying real time propagation paths on a zoomable map. MacLoggerDX HD can log your contacts to a super fast sql database. MacLoggerDX HD includes ADIF import, export and Log syncing with MacLoggerDX desktop!

Features:

- SQLite data base.
- Internal databases updated over the Internet.
- Syncs MacLoggerDX logs through iTunes Sync.
- 2D Map.
- QRZ Online, HamCall, HamQTH and WM7D Call Books supported
(subscription required for QRZ and HamCall)
- DX Cluster Propagation displayed by band.

This is a free update for existing customers.

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DATV-Express Project November update

Thursday 5th December 2013

Charles Brain G4GUO has released v1.08 software to the project team

The main change was to fine-tune and replace the 'proof-of concept' v1.07 that had fixed the PCR clock-jitter problem that is caused by Hauppauge video-capture units (especially in linux). Also the organization of the GUI windows has been reorganized and is now more straightforward.

Charles is working towards a final software clean-up effort before releasing the 32-bit and 64-bit software for production at the end of December. The production release of software will hopefully resolve a nagging I2C communications problem on initial power-up. This I2C problem is being caused by the FPGA code design and will occasionally result in the need to power-cycle the board and restart the software.

Block Diagram of DATV-Express System

Ken W6HHC continues to work on updating the USER MANUAL.
The latest PDF draft (now 27 pages long) has now been uploaded to the project website. When Ken tested the new v1.08 software he discovered that his ancient (but trustworthy) P4 CPU running at 1.8 GHz was no longer fast enough to run the software with the new design that re-calculates the PCR clock. He partitioned his newer Win7 notebook (3 GHz dual-core CPU), loaded the ubuntu V12 LTS OS and now the v1.08 transmitter works perfectly.

Art WA8RMC reports that all production boards that he has ready for production sales, test with at least 17.5 dBm (around 55 mW) of RF output. This means the board can directly drive 30W RF amplifiers (30W FM rating like DownEast 2230PA for 1.2 GHz).

Art has recruited Bob N8NT (from the ATCO club) to help set-up the http://www.DATV-Express.com website. The web site will be “under construction” for a few more weeks, so we ask you to be patient. The PayPal payment method has been tested and you can download a PDF draft of the USER MANUAL from the web site (click on DATV-Express Progress link on left-hand frame at HOME) today. Anyone wanting to help improve the basic product software is welcomed. Art explains that as an encouragement to programmers, we are asking a US$200 (including shipping) discounted price which is our cost.

Contact G4GUO directly if you are an interested programmer and he will provide you a “PromoCode” to enter…we still have two more pre-production boards reserved for early programmers that can ship today. After that we would like to market the complete board to ATVers at about US$300 plus shipping. Our goal is to not make a profit on this project but only recoup our production/parts costs in order to provide a low cost entry into DATV for Hams. The goal for the team is to "begin taking production orders in January and then shipping immediately" .

“Full speed ahead”...
de Ken W6HHC

DATV-Express Project
http://www.DATV-Express.com/

Digital ATV Yahoo Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/groupDigitalATV

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Commemoration of 100 years since the start of ‘The Great War’

Thursday 5th December 2013

Advance Notice for Information

On August 3rd 2014 the nation will commemorate the beginning of World War 1 known as ‘The Great War’ and on August the 4th 2014 a European commemoration will take place in Mons, Belgium.

To commemorate this event two special event amateur radio stations will be activated in the ‘old’ county of Cheshire.

The first station will be located at Leasowe Lighthouse near Morton Wirral and will be on the air from 25th July 2014 until 7th August 2014.

Call sign GB100GW (Great Britain 100 Great War)

The second station will be located at Cheshire Military Museum in the city of Chester.  Operational from 1st August 2014 to 7th August 2014

Call sign GB100CMM (Great Britain 100 Cheshire Military Museum).

The station on Wirral is sponsored by the Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club (WADARC) and hosted by the Friends of Leasowe Lighthouse Amateur Radio Station M0MTC. The call sign M0MTC will also be used during busy periods at the lighthouse.

The Chester station is sponsored by Chester and District Amateur Radio Society (CADARS) . It is also hoped to put on a small display of Military radio equipment.

 Major T.E Pickering MBE (Curator) with the aid of Melanie Kane (Marketing Officer) have made it possible to use the Cheshire Military Museum as a venue.

Major Pickering has also been able to supply a copy of the painting ‘1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment at Audregnies ‘ Artist David Rowland for the official QSL card. (copyright Cheshire Military Museum)

The Tall Trees Contest Group( G5D ) have also offered their services and this will be greatly appreciated at both locations.

The Chester location will have public access during the operational period.

Wirral station will be open to the public on a date yet to be finalised.

Admission charges will apply at both venues.

From David G3UFO

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e2v Chelmsford make L/S-band car immobilizer

Wednesday 4th December 2013

The Chelmsford-based company e2v has developed a L/S-band transmitter to 'knock-out' a moving vehicle

The Engineer reports the system can disable the engines of motor vehicles and small boats at a distance of up to 50m in under three seconds.

"It's a small radar transmitter," said Andy Wood, product manager at e2v.

"The RF [radio frequency] is pulsed from the unit just as it would be in radar, it couples into the wiring in the car and that disrupts and confuses the electronics in the car causing the engine to stall."

"at L and S-Band - the wiring loom of a vehicle is almost the perfect aerial"

[L-Band refers to frequencies between 1 and 2 GHz, S-Band is 2-4 GHz]


Operators of the transmitter called RF Safe-Stop apparently won’t need specialist training as e2v is aiming for a system that that allows the user to do nothing more complicated than push a red button when the target is in range.

One wonders how long it'll be before someone hooks one up to a speed detector enabling speeding vehicles to be instantly zapped.

Read The Engineer story at
http://www.theengineer.co.uk/military-and-defence/news/radio-beam-device-can-disable-car-and-boat-engines-from-50m/1017308.article

BBC News story
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25197786

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Don't forget the RSGB CC UKAC
(Tuesday 3rd December 2013)

(Today is the First Tuesday of the month - 144MHz)

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Most club members are now aware that the RSGB are also running weekly RSGB CC UKAC contests as an addition to their comprehensive contest calendar.

These are held each Tuesday evening from 20:00 until 22:30 with new club members joining in on a regular basis.

The contests are for multi club member operators, combining their results for a Club Entry, as well as their own individual performance. They cover the following VHF bands 50 MHz, 144 MHz, 432 MHz, 1296 MHz and up to 10GHz and on those months with a 5th Tuesday 70Mhz.

You don't have to do each band .. you can choose one band only if you like, which would mean one Tuesday evening a month, so it does not have to be a big commitment !! You can either work from your shack or go out portable .. the choice is yours.

We now have eight club members contributing to the WADARC score - Denis G3UVR, Frank G8REQ, Chris M1EEV, Simon G6XHF, Daniel M6CUL, Tom G4BKF, Andy M6MEQ and David G3UFO and their combined scores put WADARC at 10th place out of a total of 105 UK club entries ...... BUT .. we would like to do better !! Can YOU join in and help ?

These contests are now almost the sole topic of conversation at our fortnightly D&W's covering the actual previous nights contest through to antennas, the logging programme, what conditions were like etc.

You can always check on a weekly basis to see how WADARC is doing at:-

http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin//vhfresults.pl?ContestSeries=Overall%20UKAC&year=2013

A closer look at the top five clubs in the above link shows that they have twenty or so operators that can chip in the points so clearly the more members of a club who take part .. the more points the club receives and the higher the club profile.

If you would like to take part and chip in your points to the WADARC club score or like more details, then please chat with any of those taking part listed above. They come to most club meetings and are present at many of the D&W's. In the meantime I have listed below some bullet points which may answer some of your initial questions, but you can find more complete information by browsing the above link and those at the end.

The UK AC contests are run by the RSGB
There is one every Tuesday evening 20:00 - 22:30
A different band every week of the month (except the SHF one)

First Tuesday every month - 144Mhz
Second
Tuesday every month - 432Mhz

Third Tuesday every month - 1296Mhz
Forth Tuesday every month - 50mhz (plus all the SHF bands to 10GHz)
Fifth Tuesday (when available) - 70MHz

The Rules are on the RSGB CC VHF website (See links below)
The RSGB Adjudicate the results

There are several power sections
AL low power up to 10w (not 70MHz)
AR 10w to 100w (not 70MHz)
AO 100w to 400w (not 70MHz)
AX Full licence power, no aerial restrictions, use of chat internet ok (AX not allowed to add score to club)

You DON'T need to be an RSGB member to operate in the contest.

You DO have to be a club member of an RSGB Affiliated Society (AFS) (such as WADARC) to add your score to.

Logs can be done on paper then converted by typing the info in again at the RSGB CC VHF website.

The easiest way (recommended) is to use the free contest logger "Minos" then on completion just upload the log to the RSGB

You have one week after the end of contest to submit logs.

Some more links to relevant pages at RSGB

http://www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/howto.html

http://www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/rules/12rules/frameindex.html

In the meantime, our congratulations to Denis, Frank, Chris, Simon, Daniel, Tom, Andy and David for their efforts and lets hope some more members can spare a couple of hours on a Tuesday evening to consolidate the success they have achieved so far.

73, Neil G4OAR

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Launch a water-propelled satellite into deep space

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Radio amateurs Benjamin Longmier KF5KMP and James Cutler KF6RFX of the University of Michigan have launched a Kickstarter to raise funding to develop a CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT)

The project’s Kickstarter page says:

Space exploration has traditionally been expensive, many spacecraft launched today are the size of a truck and can cost over $1 billion dollars. CAT will be tested on a CubeSat, a small satellite the size of a loaf of bread. CubeSats cost 1,000 to 10,000 times less to develop and launch than conventional satellites. As scientific and commercial space technologies get exponentially smaller, it becomes easier (and less expensive) to place small but powerful sensors on a CubeSat platform. The CAT engine can propel this miniaturized equipment to exciting new locations previously unreachable at such a low price.

Traditional university research funding starts with seed data, a small seed grant, a government grant and a large number of gates to go through over many years. We’d like to leverage Kickstarter funds to compress that timeline and go from initial seed data to flight in about 18 months, a much faster time scale than is possible with traditional grants. We love the idea of “Citizen Explorers” helping fund this project and are excited to have our backers be part of the journey.

While we have obtained some external funding, this mission may never happen without your help. Research funding is notoriously slow and filled with red tape. Technology demonstration missions can take over ten years to go from concept to launch. We want to do more faster, getting CAT from the drawing board to space in record time. With your help, we will be assembling everything into one compact thruster unit and testing integrated components in the lab, then in Earth orbit. If we reach stretch goals, we could be testing CAT in interplanetary space at a destination of your choice!
 

Our base funding goal of $50,000 is enough to add specialized equipment to the satellite to observe the plasma plume ejected by the CAT engine. Integrating a high-resolution camera and associated subsystems is critical to validate our theories on plasma flow along a magnetic nozzle and complete our test matrix when CAT is on-orbit. Because this is an entirely new type of engine, we need a camera in order to directly observe how the super heated plasma follows the magnetic nozzle and then detaches to create thrust. Without a camera we can’t know precisely when the plasma is being created. Basically, we need to see the engine actually creating plasma to verify our assumptions. On Earth it’s easy for us to observe the plasma during testing, but in space it’s much more difficult.

Kickstarter
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/longmier/
cat-launch-a-water-propelled-satellite-into-deep-s


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GoBluePlasma

Read a New Scientist story at
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24679-boxy-cubesats-get-a-propulsion-boost-in-new-space-race.html

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G.Fast transmitting across HF/VHF to the home

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

The Interference web site carries a copy of a document on G.fast produced by ITU-T Study Group 15

G.Fast broadband technology transmits across HF and VHF on the copper telephone cable connecting roadside distribution points to the home.

See the document at
http://interference.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?tid=289

ITU-T Study Group 15
http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/studygroups/2013-2016/15/
Pages/default.aspx

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The Radio Store closes down

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

The Radio Store, one of the landmarks that gave Akihabara its 'Electric Town' nickname, closed its doors for the last time on Saturday evening after 64 years in business

Computer World report Tokyo's world-famous Akihabara district lost one of its signature stores on Saturday, November 30, 2013, and with it a piece of the area's rich electronics history faded away.

On hearing about the closure, Mr. Mae, a 76 year old retired engineer and amateur radio operator traveled 500 kilometers from Fukui Prefecture in western Japan to reminisce. When he was 16, he used what savings he had to go to Tokyo he built his first radio receiver from components he bought at the Radio Store. He has been an enthusiast ever since.

"When I came to Tokyo for university I was here every day," he said. "We could talk to the clerks and other radio fans about the latest technology developments and we would all always be saving for next new component. I moved on from receivers to amateur radio operation, so naturally I built my own transmitter. It opened me up to the world."

He remembered how the Radio Store's success led to the building of the nearby "Radio Center" and from there more buildings started to pop up housing similar component vendors.

"It was always busy," he said. "It would take a few hours to move around and wait in line to shop at the popular vendors. Often the best components would get sold out very quickly."

Read the full Computer World story with 15 photos at
http://www.computerworld.co.nz/article/533187/
store_closure_marks_end_an_era_tokyo_akihabara_15_photos_/

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BBC Science Club's Mark Miodownik hacks a science toy – video

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Materials scientist and BBC Science Club presenter Mark Miodownik attempts to show that electronics can be as enjoyable and creative to play with as paints and clay.

Here he combines his scientific skills and imagination to take his favourite science toy – an electric paint pen – and use the parts to build an automatic light for his cycle helmet

http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2013/dec/02/mark-miodownik-hack-science-toy-video

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Ascension Island

Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Five members of the Cambridge University Wireless Society will be active as ZD8UW from Green Mountain on Ascension Island between December 2-6th.

Activity will be on the HF bands, 40-10 meters including the 30/17/12 using CW and SSB.

Operators mentioned are: Terry G3VFC, Martin G3ZAY, Dominic M0BLF, Robert M0VFC and Gavin M1BXF. They will be operating with Elecraft K3s.

They won’t have internet access at the QTH, but logs should be uploaded roughly daily to Clublog. The logs will also go on LoTW once they return home, but they can't apply for the LoTW certificate in advance as they won't be collecting their radio licence until they get to Ascension.

QSL will be via M0OXO.

For updates, watch: http://www.g6uw.org/dxpeditions/zd8uw

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Video: Commanding the WREN SSTV PocketQube

Monday 2nd December 2013

The WREN team have released a video showing you how to use the WREN Decoder/Commander

The tiny PocketQube satellite WREN is just 5x5x5 cm yet is equipped with a camera for Slow Scan TV (SSTV) using the Martin-1 format, a gyro, a magnetic field sensor, momentum wheels and pulsed plasma microthrusters. The camera has an image processing system which can find the position of the Sun and the Earth automatically.

The WREN Decoder/Commander App uses the RTS pin of the com port to trigger TX of the radio (we use an ICOM 910h) for commanding. Decoder and Commander in one package.

Watch How to use the WREN Decoder/Commander

The SSTV PocketQube WREN is currently in a mode where it beacons on 437.405 MHz (+/- 10 kHz) Doppler shift) for 1.6 seconds then listens for 6 minutes on that frequency for any commands. If none are received it goes to sleep for 2 minutes before transmitting the beacon again.

Because the beacon is so infrequent the approach currently being used is to send commands to WREN on 437.405 MHz whenever you think it is in range.

Hope you can catch WREN and have fun commanding it.

WREN Decoder/Commander App Download
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pvzyr01216dab1k/uf4MQWEn5y

WREN on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/StaDoKo

WREN a Ham Radio Slow Scan TV PocketQube Satellite
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/10/24/wren-a-ham-radio-sstv-pocketqube/

Dnepr Yasny launch
http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/dnepr-november-2013/

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VHF Communications magazine closes

Monday 2nd December 2013

VHF Communications magazine is closing after 45 years of continuous publication

A message on the magazine website says:

VHF Communications was the foremost construction oriented publication for Radio Amateurs and Professional RF Communications Engineers. The magazine especially covered VHF, UHF and Microwave communication was published from 1969 to 2013. The last magazine published was issue 4/2013

By the end of 2013 the number of subscribers was not sufficient to support the magazine. Also the supply of articles had become difficult because a lot of good articles are published direct to the Internet.

Thank you to all subscribers and authors who have supported the magazine

A DVD containing the complete collection of magazines is available

VHF Communications
http://www.vhfcomm.co.uk/

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 2nd December 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 24th-November, through Sunday, 1st-December there were 239 countries active.

Countries available:

3A, 3B8, 3B9, 3D2, 3D2/r, 3DA, 3V, 3W, 4J, 4L, 4O, 4S, 4U1I, 4X, 5A, 5B, 5H, 5N, 5R, 5T, 5V, 5W, 5X, 5Z, 6W, 6Y, 7X, 8P, 8R, 9A, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9L, 9M2, 9M6, 9N, 9V, 9X, 9Y,

A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C3, C5, C6, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D4, DL, DU, E5/s, E6, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EL, EP, ER, ES, EU, EX, EY, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FP, FR, FS, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, J6, J7, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JX, JY,

K, KH0, KH2, KH6, KH8, KL, KP2, KP4, LA, LU, LX, LY, LZ, OA, OD, OE, OH, OH0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ7, PY, PY0F, PZ, S2, S5, S7, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T30, T32, T5, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TL, TN, TR, TT, TU, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VK9N, VP2E, VP2M, VP2V, VP5, VP6, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VR, VU, VU7, XE, XT, XU, XX9, XZ, YA, YB, YI, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z2, Z3, Z8, ZA, ZB, ZD7, ZD8, ZF, ZL, ZL7, ZP, ZS, ZS8
 

PLEASE NOTE: The report "could" contain "Pirate/SLIM" operations or more likely a "BUSTED CALLSIGN". As always, you never know - "Work First Worry Later" (WFWL).

OPDX

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Live video streaming from the ISS

Monday 2nd December 2013

The N2YO satellite tracking website provides live video streaming from the International Space Station (ISS)

The Ustream video from the station is available only when the complex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communications antenna and NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.

During “loss of signal” periods, you will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it sees a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but also may provide spectacular views of city lights below.

Live streaming from the ISS
http://www.n2yo.com/space-station/

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FUNcube-1 update November 30

Sunday 1st December 2013

From the acquisition of the first signal by ZS1LS on Thursday, November 21, the FUNcube team have had a steady stream of data flowing in

A few warehouse statistics as at 12:00 UT, Nov. 28, 2013:

- over 12MB of unique data uploaded and stored
- 424 user registrations since 2013-11-17
- 319 users have have uploading data
- 41388 Real-time entries
- 11754 Whole Orbit Data entries
- 77940 High Resolution entries

We are very grateful for all this data which is invaluable to the command team – please continue to send it to the Warehouse if you can and encourage other to do so.

Fitter Message 9:

What are the funny characters in the FM9 slot?

Well the command stations can re-purpose FM9 to either be a “normal” Fitter message or to carry the debug data that is displayed at the bottom of the Dashboard. This carries info about various status flags and other parameters.
The format is described here

“in short Fitter message 9, when we are running in debug mode starts of with 0xFF that’s how we know its debug, then what follows is just a byte for byte copy of some of the in memory structures from the running MCU, filling up the rest of the fitter message is an MCU program trace (read from right to left) the letter indicates the source file, the number is the line number in that source file. The spaces are where the MCU has finished processing and has gone back to wait for more events.”

Schedule for next few days:


We plan to command FUNcube-1 into continuous amateur/transponder mode for a few orbits on either the 09:22 UT or 10:58 UT passes over the UK tomorrow. We will be doing this to see how this change affects the on-board temperatures. We will switch it back to the normal autonomous schedule either 12:35 UT or 20:31 UT passes depending upon the results of these tests.

No other changes to the operating schedule are currently planned.

Download the Dashboard App to receive the telemetry and upload it to the Data Warehouse.

AMSAT-UK http://amsat-uk.org/

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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