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


WRC-2015 draft recommendations may impact 10 GHz

Friday 31st January 2014

The ARRL report the FCC has invited comments by February 18 on the latest batch of draft recommendations of its Advisory Committee for World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-2015)

At its January 27 meeting, the Advisory Committee (WAC) approved draft recommendations on a number of issues that will be considered by WRC-2015. Some items, including one which could possibly lead to changes to 60 meters in the long term, could affect the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services.

ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, is a member of the WAC, which is chartered to allow non-federal government entities to “provide to the [FCC] advice, technical support, and recommended proposals for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference.”

WRC-2015 will consider a number of issues that could impact amateur allocations above 420 MHz, including a possible extension of the current worldwide allocation to the Earth Exploration-Satellite service in the band 9300 to 9900 MHz by up to 600 MHz “within the frequency bands 8700 to 9300 MHz and/or 9900 to 10500 MHz” Incumbent services in the 9900 to 10500 MHz range include the Radiolocation, Fixed, Mobile, Amateur, and Amateur-Satellite services.

The Amateur Service is secondary at 10000 to 10500 MHz worldwide, and the Amateur-Satellite Service is secondary at 10450 to 10500 MHz worldwide.

Comments should reference IB Docket 04-286 and specific recommendations by WAC document number. Interested parties may file comments via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).

Read the full ARRL story at

Draft WRC-2015 recommendations

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Fractal Antennas in Microwave Journal

Friday 31st January 2014

The Microwave Journal report on Fractal Antenna Systems of Waltham, MA which was founded by radio amateur Nathan 'Chip' Cohen W1YW

Fractal Antenna Systems use fractals to manufacture antennas and related devices such as filters, metamaterials, cloaks, diffusers, and absorbers that are typically smaller, wideband/multiband solutions that are lower cost than traditional components.

Read the article at

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IOTA News from the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club

Thursday 30th January 2014

Island activities:

AF-032; 5H; Zanzibar Island:
Fred/IK7JWX, Leopoldo/I8LWL, Stefano/ IK6JRI, Ciclane/IZ6JOD, Luca/IS0AGY, Ampelio/ IZ8LFI, and Elvira/IV3FSG are announcing an activation of Zanzibar Island (WLOTA 1080, WWFF 5HFF-003) from February 1 to 10. Tied to the operating is the support of the "Italy Day Hospital". QRV as 5I0DX (also in the CQ WPX RTTY Contest) and 5H3AN. QSLs via IS0AGY.

AS-015; 9M2; Pinang State group:
9M4CNY is going to mark the Chinese New Year Cultural & Heritage Festival 2014 on the bands on February 2. QRV from Penang Island (WW Loc. OJ05ej) from 07z to 16z on 14228, 14088, 21088, 21228, 28088, and 28228kHz and 145.2375. QSL only direct, see

NA-001; C6; Great Bahama Bank group:
Tim/AF1G has been posted as a technician to Andros Island and is going to be active as AF1G/C6A until November 20 on 80-6m in SSB. QSL via LoTW and AF1G (d).

NA-101; J7; Dominica:
John/AD8J will activate Dominica holiday-style from January 29 to February 7 as J79JG, mainly in CW. QSL via LoTW and AD8J (d).

OC-139; VK5; South Australia State East Centre group:
Andy/VK5MAV is going to put Kangaroo Island (WLOTA 0869) on the air from February 3 to 10 as VK5MAV/p. QRV holiday-style in CW on 40, 20,
15, and 10m. QSL via OQRS (ClubLog).

OC-236; YB8; Celebes's Coastal Islands:
Din/YB8RW activates Lembeh Island (WLOTA 2516) as YB8RW/p from the 29th until February 1. QSL direct via YB9BU.

OC-237; YB8; Gorong and Watubela Islands (NEW IOTA): Budi/YF1AR and Fan/YB0AI continue to work from Gorong Islands (WW Loc. PI56qa)
until February 3 with their homecalls/8. QRV from 40-10m in SSB.
QSL YF1AR/8 via N2OO (d/B), and YB0AI/8 via YB0AI (d).

Compiled by Klaus, DL7UXG
Deutscher Amateur Radio Club

RSGB IOTA website

Check-out the latest IOTA News bulletin from OPDX

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Michael Portillo sends Morse Code

Wednesday 29th January 2014

Former Enfield Southgate MP Michael Portillo was shown how to send Morse code on BBC TV by Chelmsford radio amateur Peter Watkins M0BHY.

In series 5 episode 17 of the programme Great British Railway Journeys, first broadcast January 28, Michael travels from Ipswich to Chelmsford. There he visits the world's first purpose-built radio equipment factory, established in New Street, Chelmsford by Guglielmo Marconi and tries out Morse code in the Ship's Radio Room at the Sandford Mill radio museum.

The museum will next be open to the public for International Marconi Day on Saturday, April 26.

You can watch Great British Railway Journeys online, fast forward to 22:30 into the show, at

Sandford Mill Ships Radio Room

CARS at Sandford Mill

GB96MWT at Marconi's New Street factory

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4m VHF Transatlantic Beacon

Wednesday 29th January 2014

Mike Schaffer KA3JAW would like to remind everyone in the British Isles and Europe that the WG2XPN 70.005 MHz beacon is active

Some operators were mistakenly under the impression that beacon was active only during the summer season.

The beacon is on 70.005 MHz CW mode running 3 kW ERP beamed at 60 degrees towards Europe using a three element Yagi at 15 metres height on top the peak of Apple Orchard Mountain (1280 metres) along the Blue Ridge mountain range of Virginia state in Maidenhead grid square - FM07fm.

Thus far, there have been no reported detection of this beacon since the New Year 2014 from ITU region one.

The last ITU region one reception was last year on July, 7, 2013 at 1719 UTC from DI2MN (JN58wh) via Sporadic-E with a signal report of 559 QSB at a distance of 7092 km.

Also on the same date at 1710 UTC operator IS0AWZ (Sardinia Is.) Italy (JM49ng) detected the transmission at 7387 km with a report of 419 to 429 via 4x Es!

If you hear the beacon post a Youtube video using the subject line above.

Regards & 73's,
Mike Schaffer KA3JAW
Easton, Pennsylvania, USA FN20iq

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Ham Radio 3-D First Person View

Tuesday 28th January 2014

IEEE Spectrum report on 3-D First Person View (FPV) which enables you to get a pilot’s-eye view from a remote-controlled aircraft

In the UK FPV is not yet incorporated in the amateur radio licence although the topic was raised in the recent RSGB licence discussion forum.

In this article radio amateur David Schneider describes his 5.8 GHz 3-D FPV setup

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US postage rate reminder

Tuesday 28th January 2014

As of January 26th, the USPS will be selling a 'FOREVER STAMP' first class, one-price, global postage stamp, along with the new increases in other new postage rates.

The new international stamp can be used to send a letter (weight? Canada to remain at 2oz) to any country in the world affiliated with the U.N. postal agreements and rules. The price is $1.15 per stamp!


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ISS Ham Video Commissioning

Monday 27th January 2014

A 2400 MHz digital TV transmitter is slated to be installed in the International Space Station Columbus module on February 5, 2014 by radio amateur astronaut Michael Hopkins KF5LJG

The Ham Video transmitter will be connected to the ARISS 41 antenna and to the KuPS power supply. The installation procedure comprises a check of the electrical connections. The transmitter will be powered on and will transmit a signal on 2.422 GHz. This check will be very limited in time, just enough to verify that the control LEDs are nominal. Then Ham Video will be powered off, ready for the first Commissioning Step.

The four Commissioning steps are scheduled February 8, 15 and 16 and March 5. These dates are still to be confirmed and this depends on the signature of the Flight Rules relative to Ham Video.

Blank Transmissions will start immediately at the conclusion of Commissioning Step 1 and will continue till Commissioning Step 4.
This means that the ISS Ham Video transmitter will operate continuously during 25 days.

Ground stations with S-band capability can provide valuable information, which will be much appreciated. Basic data such as:
* noise level without signal
* AOS time (UTC)
* maximum signal level during pass
* LOS time (UTC)
can be reported by ground stations without the need of special DATV hardware and software.

ARISS is preparing a Ham Video Internet Reporting Program for collecting reception data from volunteering ground stations. These most needed reception reports will be gratefully accepted.

Read the full story at

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Listen Before Transmit software

Monday 27th January 2014

It can be annoying when someone transmits over the top of an existing contact, now Steve N2CKH has developed software that may make this a thing of the past

Listen Before Transmit (LBT) involves software automatically checking the entire passband before transmitting to ensure the channel is clear of any SSB, CW or Digital signals. If any signals are present the transmission can be inhibited and the operator informed.

The software Steve N2CKH has developed appears to be very effective, in his testing, it has so far successfully detected all human generated signals in the passband that can be heard by ear or seen in a waterfall display.

Andy K3UK writes: Here is a quick video demonstrating my attempts to transmit on top of an already occupied frequency, with ALE software preventing it. In the video, I place a a couple of calls to K2MO. You will see the failed connect attempt listed. Thus, a successful; LBT use.

Watch DEMO of Listen Before Transmit in ALE

Digital Radio Yahoo Group

HF Link ALE Yahoo Group

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Another new Essex Ham Radio club

Monday 27th January 2014

The latest amateur radio club to be formed in Essex is the Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club

Following the success of a series of weekly 2m simplex nets, a group of amateurs in the Grays Thurrock area met on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 for the first official club night of the Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club.

TAARC invited Essex Ham along to the first get-together, where the official formation of the club was discussed and agreed, and plans outlined to prospective members regarding the club’s future direction.

With support from the assembled amateurs, the committee was officially formed, and it was agreed that the club will host monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, in addition to the weekly net at 7:30pm on Thursdays.

The new Chair of TAARC, Nick G4HCK, said it was great to see so many amateurs turn up to support the formation of the new club. A series of club nights are already in preparation and will be held at the club’s meeting venue: the 1st Grays Scouts Hall, Cromwell Road, Grays, RM17 5HG.

The club also plans to be very active with training, and at the same time as the inaugural meeting was taking place, a local foundation training session was already in progress at a nearby location.

To give prospective members a taste of what to expect from the new club, Dave M0TAZ presented an excellent talk on the subject of QRP. The talk covered a number of areas including antenna types, power supplies, and examples of some of Dave’s own operations.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, doors open at 7:45pm. If you’re in the area, go along, meet the team, and sample their tea and biccies.

Thanks to Essex Ham for this report, pictures can be seen at

Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club (TAARC)

The formation of TAARC is a further sign of the growth of amateur radio in Essex coming just 16 months after the formation of the Thames Amateur Radio Group (TARG). It is to be hoped that more new clubs will form around the county in the coming years.

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New Antarctic base to go on-the-air

Monday 27th January 2014

Lee, DS4NMJ, and a scientific team were expected to leave on January 25th, for the new Jang Bogo Korean research station currently under construction at Terra Nova Bay, Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica.

The base will be in the Ross Dependency and near the Italian Zucchelli Station and is scheduled to open February 12th. The team, aboard the ice breaker Araon, is planning to be at Jang Bogo by early February.

Look for activity by Lee as D8A sometime in mid-February. Lee says that he will be at Jang Bogo until January 31st, 2015.

Activity will be on 160-10 meters using mostly CW with some SSB and RTTY as well.



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DXHeat - DXer's tool

Monday 27th January 2014

DXHeat offers versatile filtering of incoming Real-time Web DX-Cluster DX Spots. With its built in push algorithms, it displays DX spots in an instant while being optimized for low band-width at the same time.

Rich graphical tools and HTML5 Audio & WebSDR Technology make it indispensable for serious DXers. It also has over 25 million DX spots listed/searchable in its database.

DXHeat also provides a visual tool to check the current band activity into all continents at a glance and a WebSDR to listen to any spot listed on your browser (No additional software or plugins needed).

OPDX editor's note: This site seems to work better in Google Chrome and an older version of JAVA (see details on the Web page).


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New DStar repeater on air

Sunday 26th January 2014

UKFMGW (UK FM Group Western) announce that Paul G1DVA has put GB7DV on air from St. Helens, Mersyside. The NoV was issued just days ago and the repeater was aired at 15:00 on Saturday 25th Jan.

The repeater is sponsored by UKFMGW

Mike G4VSS and Paul G1DVA installed the antenna in atrocious weather in order to get the repeater on air and reports from around the area.

Paul and Mike are members of the Warrington Club. who also have a new look web site.

Reports would be welcomed by the repeater Keeper.

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EMC in the UK in the 21st Century

Sunday 26th January 2014

In his blog Nige G7CNF gives his views on Ofcom and the current EMC situation in the UK

Read The Reality of EMC in the UK in the 21C

You can join the UKQRM Yahoo discussion group at

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Cuban Hams can use 60m band

Sunday 26th January 2014

Faithful to their promise of a new universal 60m ham band in the last WRC, the Ministry of Communications of Cuba approved this January the access of Cuban hams to this new band.

The law approved on January 20 of 2014, from the Ministry of Communications of Cuba allows the use of the spectrum between the 5418 to 5430 Khz, a continuous segment of 12 Khz, this unlike other countries that are allowing just channels.

The assignation is as a secondary users as per ITU recommendations for region 2, with the emphasis on its use in emergencies nets, as Cuba is in the path of the Caribbean Hurricanes every year and this band allows a steady communication path for all the island.

The new law sets this band for every day use, but once an official emergency is declared by the Cuban State, then the use of the band will be restricted to emergency traffic exclusively, ceasing all others kinds of use on it.

The new assignation allows SSB, CW and Digital, the former limited to PSK31 and PSK63. All ham categories of the three existent in Cuba can access the band based on a power limitations of 10W for the novices and 50W for the rest; with a note of the relaxation of this power limitation up to 100W tops for all users in emergency conditions as needed for a reliable link establishment.

The access of the hams to this band is not immediate, the process involves the request and approval for individual hams to the related Authority and the modification of the ham's licence (an in-office process of about 1 day), so the band will populate steady, but slowly.

Most Cubans hams use commercial radios with full or partial coverage of HF bands or even homebrew radios, so the "hardware" will not be a major problem, for a significant percent of Cuban hams will be a matter of setting up an antenna for this new band or simply tune in his multi-band antenna.

Pavel Milanes Costa CO7WT

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Radio Amateurs of Canada applauds 60 metre band frequency allocations

Sunday 26th January 2014

Industry Canada has announced that a number of specific frequencies within the 60 metre high frequency band have been approved for amateur radio use.

A total of five specific frequencies within the 5 MHZ band have been allocated, 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz.

Radio amateurs across Canada have new frequencies to explore as a result of a recent decision of Industry Canada.

"Canada has joined a number of countries in making channels available in the 60 metre band, near 5MHz for use by radio amateurs. This will provide increased ability for Canadian radio amateurs to help out in providing emergency communications when existing systems fail as has happened in ice storms and flooding. We applaud this decision of the Canadian government." said Geoff Bawden, President of Radio Amateurs of Canada.

Unlike the commercial communications systems so important to modern society, amateur radio does not require an extensive infrastructure for communications.

Radio amateurs take advantage of natural phenomena to send their signals across town and around the world. They delight in being able to set up in a remote location with their own power supplies and simple antennas, often home built, competing to see who can make the most contacts in a limited time.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service in Canada, sponsored by RAC, provides training and organizes exercises for radio amateurs to sharpen their skills to be able to respond to emergencies. As well these organizations and amateur radio clubs often provide communications to community public service activities and events such as ski races and marathons, bicycle races and car rallies.

The skills radio amateurs develop through their hobby and these activities mean that in emergencies that shut down power grids, internet and wireless communications, amateur radio can continue to function.

In major emergencies such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 and the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year, amateur radio operators are often the first source of information from affected areas.

The key resource for amateur radio is access to the radio spectrum.

Conditions in the atmosphere and high in the ionosphere determine the distances over which communications are possible. The new allocation at 60m between existing allocations at 80 m and 40m should make regional communications more reliable. Furthermore as Canada and the United States have allocated many of the same channels to their radio amateurs cross border communications are possible. Fortunately major emergencies are relatively rare.

Radio amateurs will explore communications on the new frequencies as they do in all available bands, experimenting, learning and making new friends across the world.

Technical details

The five 60 metre channel allocations are the same as authorized in the USA, with the same power restriction of 100 watts ERP (relative to a dipole antenna). Transmissions, independent of emission mode, must be centered on the each of the following frequencies: 5.332, 5.348, 5.3585, 5.373, and 5.405 MHz with a maximum allowable channel bandwidth of 2.8 kHz. When operating SSB, upper sideband will be the convention to follow on the 60 metre band. Other modes that are permissible will be CW, Data (including PSK 31 and Pactor III), and RTTY.

With this latest authorization on operation on the 5 MHz channels to Canadian Amateurs with HF privileges, there will no longer be a requirement to operate under a special Developmental license and VX9 call sign. Holders of such licences can now let them lapse.

Canadian amateurs should refer to the posting of RBR-4, Issue 2, for all details before proceeding to operate on the new 60 metre channels:

Their curiosity and eagerness to develop and share this hobby will enrich the communities where they operate and provide needed resilience in communications when emergencies require it.

Technical details of this decision can be found here:

Contributions by Norm Rashleigh VE3LC and Glenn MacDonell VE3XRA.

Vincent Charron, VA3GX/VE2HHH
Director of Communications and Fundraising
Radio Amateurs of Canada

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FUNcube at National Student Space Conference

Saturday 25th January 2014

David Johnson G4DPZ will be giving a presentation on the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) spacecraft to the National Student Space Conference being held at the University of Leicester on March 1-2

David is a software engineer and committee member of AMSAT-UK.

He writes Open-Source satellite Ground-Segment and orbit prediction software, and has been involved in many amateur satellite projects over the past 35 years including PCSAT-2 (flew on the ISS), GENSO Network, AmsatDroid prediction App, STRaND-1 smartphone nanosatellite, and FUNcube Data Warehouse.

His talk will cover the AMSAT-NL/AMSAT-UK educational amateur satellite project – FUNcube, an educational single CubeSat project with the goal of enthusing and educating young people about radio, space, physics and electronics. He will give a short history of the project and the work leading up to the launch, share the thrill of launch day, and the current and future plans for operation of the satellite.

Also at the conference will be speakers from the UK Space Agency, Reaction Engines, and HE Space.

Conference Speakers


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New propagation predictions for first quarter 2014

Saturday 25th January 2014

Steve G0KYA has now updated his HF propagation prediction charts for the first quarter of 2014 to take into account the latest predicted smoothed sunspot numbers.

It is generally thought that we may now be at or past the second hump of this sunspot maximum, but the sun continues to throw some surprises.

For example, the observed sunspot numbers for the last six months of 2013 were 57.0, 66.0, 36.9, 85.6, 77.6 and 90.3, which shows the great variation.

The current predicted smoothed sunspot number (which is that recommended for VOACAP-based programs) is about 61-62 for the next three months.

This equates to a 10.7cm solar flux index of about 110 (on 24th January it was 136 with an actual sunspot number of 121).

A flux over 100 suggests that 10m will continue to open on a fairly regular basis and the next few months should throw up some good opportunities for DX on the higher bands. However, the longer-term trend may be downwards.

On the downward side of the cycle we may also experience more unsettled geomagnetic conditions due to flares and coronal mass ejections. These may cause short-term D-layer absorption (especially on routes over the poles) or depletion of the F layer (with corresponding poor conditions on the upper HF bands). Looking on the bright side it may also give raise to aurorae.

The short-path HF predictions from the UK can be found via a link at the top right on Steve's blog page at
If you want to produce more detailed point-to-point calculations he recommends VOACAP online at

Steve G0KYA

Chairman, RSGB Propagation Studies Committee

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FT5Z DXpedition team arrive at Amsterdam Island

Saturday 25th January 2014

The FT5ZM team arrived at Amsterdam Island early on Friday.

Once the team is ashore, they will have 18 days to set up, conduct the DXpedition, and tear down for departure.

Activity will be on all bands, 160-10 meters and all modes.

QSL via N2OO. The FT5ZM QSL processing order is as follows:

a.   OQRS DIRECT (via ClubLog)
c.   OQRS bureau (via ClubLog)
d.   Regular incoming BUREAU

For more details, see their Web page at:
Also, watch their media links at:
Facebook -
Twitter -

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The Noise Nobbler from SOTAbeams !

Saturday 25th January 2014

Received noise and RFI are often a problem for radio amateurs. Stopping noise and RF on feeders can be helpful.

To make the task of diagnosing and curing noise problems easy, SOTAbeams has introduced their Noise Nobbler.

The Noise Nobbler is a connectorised common mode choke with excellent performance across the HF spectrum. Because the Noise Nobbler offers predictable performance, it eliminates much of the guesswork that can result from the use of unknown and potentially unsuitable alternatives such
as clip-on ferrites or scramble wound chokes.

The SOTAbeams Noise Nobbler is fitted with BNC sockets and is rated at 125 Watts.

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Saturday 25th January 2014

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Saturday, 18th-January, through Friday, 24th-January there were 221 countries active.

Countries available:

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

A2, A4, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C2, C3, C5, C6, C9, CE, CE0Y, 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, EY, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FP, 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, J6, J7, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JX, 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, PY0F, PZ, S5, S7, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T33, T7, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TL, TR, TY, TZ, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VK9N, VP2E, VP2M, VP6, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VR, VU, XE, XT, XU, XW, YA, YB, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z3, Z8, ZA, ZB, ZD7, ZD8, ZD9, 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).


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Radio amateurs receive Rosetta signals

Friday 24th January 2014

James Miller G3RUH reports reception of the Rosetta spacecraft signal at a distance of 805 million km from Earth using the 20 metre dish at the Bochum amateur radio facility

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) James Miller G3RUH writes:

Just a quick note about Rosetta X-band. I checked it this morning from Bochum.

2014 Jan 21 [Tue] 0934 utc
AZ 172°
El 11°
R 805 Million km
CNR 25.5 dB(Hz)
QRG 8421.786900 MHz at the spacecraft

Rosetta is about 14 dB weaker than Stereo A/B.

The system at Bochum has a G/T approx 40 dB(1/K).

Bertrand Pinel F5PL, located near Castelnaudary, France, 65km from Toulouse, successfully tracked Rosetta on January 21, 2014 at 10:00 UT, using a 3.5m dish antenna, see

ESA Rosetta Blog

ESA on Facebook

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Icom celebrate their 50th anniversary

Friday 24th January 2014

2014 is a very special year for the Icom family as it marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of ICOM Inc.

Founded in 1954 by Tokuzo Inoue, the company has grown into a world renowned manufacturer of Business radio, Amateur radio, Marine radio, Aviation radio, Navigation products and Communications Receivers.  The company continues to look forward and recently the company has moved into digital Amateur radio products (D-STAR), digital two way radio products and systems including NXDN, dPMR and P25 products under its IDAS digital brand.

ICOM products, across the globe, have a reputation for unsurpassed quality and reliability …so important when so many ICOM customers depend on its products for their livelihood and safety. ICOM radios are tested to pass rigorous in-house tests as well as environmental tests to the US Military standard 810 specifications. Over 50 years of engineering and production excellence is built in to every ICOM product.

ICOM's Research & Development is renowned for developing ground breaking equipment. In recent years ICOM developed waterproof, buoyant radios for the marine market, advanced digital & HF radios for the Business and Amateur radio marketplaces. To show its commitment to design and innovation, just check out the touch screen IC-7100 HF radio or Icom’s new Licence-free WLAN radio system.

ICOM is located in Osaka, Japan and is a rare example of an electronics manufacturer who has not shifted production to lower cost countries, it has kept its production base 100% in Japan and that commitment to quality is one of the founding precepts of the brand. The Wakayama Icom plant has an advanced production system to produce the entire range of multi-mode wireless communication products. Design and manufacture processes are certified to ISO9001/ISO9002 quality and ISO14001 environmental procedures.

Today ICOM looks very different to what it was 50 years ago. ICOM Inc is now a publicly held Japanese corporation; its stock is traded on the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges. The company has an international sales and service network around the world, today selling in over 80 countries around the World Subsidiaries can be found in the US, Australia, Germany, Spain and China.

Despite their size and success ICOM’s founder Tokuzo Inoue is still a huge influence in the running of the company today.

Dave Stockley, Chairman of Icom UK said, ‘Our relationship with ICOM Inc. began in March. 1974 with us discussing ways that we could develop the brand and sales of the product range in the UK. Communication in those days was tricky there were only a few staff in Japan that could speak English. This became much less of a problem over the years as many more ICOM staff were able to speak English. Since then the relationship has been extremely successful and Icom UK are thought of as one of the most progressive companies in the ICOM family around the world. As for Mr Inoue, the founder, right from the beginning he has been a strong businessman, determined in the ways things should be done. However, right from the start, he has been a friend and inspiration and I am thankful for that.’

For details of special events marking this special occasion, please stay tuned to this website for more details.

1954 Tokuzo Inoue founded Inoue Seisakusyo in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.
1964 INOUE COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENTS CORP. established with Tokuzo Inoue as President.
1976 Icom (Europe) GmbH, established in Dusseldorf, Germany.
1978 Name changed to Icom Incorporated.
1979 Icom America Inc. established in Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A.
1982 Icom (Australia) Pty., Ltd. established in Melbourne, Australia.
1986 Hirano Plant completed.
1987 Tokyo R&D Centre established.
1988 Wakayama Icom Inc. established in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
1990 Stock was listed on Osaka Securities Exchange.
1991 Material Centre completed.
1994 Narayama R&D Office completed.
1997 Icom Spain,S.L. established in Barcelona, Spain.
1998 Asia Icom Inc. established in Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C. Acquired ISO 9001 certification.
1999 Icom Information Products Inc. established in Osaka, Japan.
2001 Stock was listed on Tokyo Securities Exchange. Stock was listed on the 1st Section of Tokyo & Osaka Securities Exchanges.
2003 Acquired ISO 14001 Certification
2006 Mr. Tokuzo Inoue assumed the position of Chairman. Mr. Tsutomu Fukui assumed the position of President
2013 Icom Inc. celebrates 50th Anniversary. Icom UK celebrates…..that’s another story

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IOTA News from the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club

Friday 24th January 2014

Island activities:

5H1Z - Tanzanian IOTA Tour
Sam/F6AML will be touring a number of Tanzanian Islands from January
28 until February 18 according to the following list:
AF-032 Zanzibar Island
AF-054 Mafia Island
AF-074 Kilwa Kisiwani Island und Songo Songo Island
AF-087 Karange Island oder Yambe Island.
QRV holiday-style on 40-10m in CW and SSB. QSL via h/c (d/B).

NA-034; W4; Florida State Centre West (Pasco to Sarasota County)
Den/W2DEN, Stan/ W9SMR, and Vic/K1CGI plan to activate Lido
Key Island (USi FL027S) on January 22 (13z - 22z) as W2DEN/4. QRV
on 30-10m in SSB, CW, and PSK. QSL via eQSL, LoTW, and W2DEN (d/B).

OC-009; T8; Palau Islands:
Masa/JN3MXT is due to get on the air as T88MX from Koro Island from the 26th to the 30th. QRV on HF in SSB and RTTY. QSL via JN3MXT.

SA-025; PS8; Piaui State group:
According to Luciano/PT7WA the expedition to Ilha Grande de Santa Isabel (ZX8DX), originally planned for December and later rescheduled for January 2014, has been cancelled.

Compiled by Klaus, DL7UXG
Deutscher Amateur Radio Club

RSGB IOTA website

Check-out the latest IOTA News bulletin from OPDX

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Canada fully authorises 5 MHz Channels

Thursday 23rd January 2014

On Wednesday 22nd January, the Canadian regulator, Industry Canada (IC) released a decision to allow amateur radio operators to use the 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz and 5405 kHz frequencies on a no-interference, no-protection basis, 2.8 kHz bandwidth, same modes as U.S., 100W PEP maximum power.

These are the same channels, modes and criteria as those available to US operators on 5 MHz and are as the result of an official IC consultation held earlier in Summer 2012

Prior to this, Canadian amateurs have had access to these frequencies since 2012, provided they applied to IC for a special interim 5 MHz/60m developmental licence, utilising a VX9 series callsign.

The Industry Canada 5 MHz Decision document can be found at

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NCDXF announces major grant to FT5/T Tromelin Island DXpedition

Thursday 23rd January 2014

The Northern California DX Foundation is pleased to announce a grant of $25,000 to the FT5/T Tromelin Island DXpedition planned for November 2014.

Tromelin is #10 on the DX Magazine's Most Wanted List for 2014.  It is #3 Most Wanted on the U.S. West Coast.

Without major financial support from NCDXF, DXpeditions like this to challenging or rare locations would not be possible. has more details.

Tromelin is a very small and very environmentally fragile area. There are strict limitations to the number of visitors and the time allowable on the island. The team's antenna plans, pilot feedback plans and enthusiasm should make this entity available to many DXers.

For the past 42 years the NCDXF has funded major DXpeditions to many Most Wanted Entities. The credit for these large grants goes to the NCDXF contributors, individuals and clubs, who make DX like this possible. Have you contributed yet? ....

73, Glenn Johnson, W0GJ
NCDXF Vice President


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uLog - Simple Ham Radio Logger

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

A new, free logging application uLog, written by Chelmsford radio amateur Charlie M0PZT, offers a fast and no-fuss way to log contacts

uLog has been designed as an easy-to-use logbook application that offers just the basic fields for QSO entry.

There are no fancy gimmicks, just quick and easy input of QSOs whether you're in the Shack or somewhere /P with the laptop.

uLog was unveiled at the recent CARS Amateur Radio Skills Workshop.

Its ‘flexi-input’ was of particular interest, as you can type the QSO details into a single box, and the software intelligently works out in which fields to put the information.

Find out more about uLog and download a copy at

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Bitcoin transmitted over radio waves

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

On The Morning Edition show, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo was able to successfully transmit a Bitcoin over radio waves

This makes what is believed to be the first known transmission of the digital currency by a public radio station.

A series of beeps were played over the air, and listeners were asked to use an app known as to decipher a code produced by the sound.
Chris Skory of Rockland County, New York was the winning recipient, and unlocked a 0.05 Bitcoin worth about $40.

Read the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story at

Chirp.IO App

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Icom UK sponsor GX3RCM Amateur Radio demonstration vehicle

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

Icom UK have supplied the Sheffield Amateur Radio Club with a range of its latest (D-STAR) digital and HF Amateur Radio Equipment.

The radios will be used on a demonstration bus which the club was awarded by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).
Their goal is to promote Amateur Radio to a wider audience at rallies, events. Importantly the unit will be taken to schools and used as a teaching tool to introduce young people to the Amateur radio hobby.

The Sheffield Amateur Radio Club began its life in the 1920’s. The club has 70 members from all ages and walks of life. The club has a very active programme of special events that are aimed at bringing Amateur Radio, electronics and communications to the wider public.

So far the club with the GX3RCM Amateur Radio Demonstration Vehicle has visited local schools during National Science Week and attended local summer festivals such as those at Low Edges and Woodseats.

Last year they put on a special event celebrating, Jamboree on the Air, for a local Scout Group. Recently the vehicle has been seen at the Newark National Hamfest and Lamfest in aid of Cancer Research.
At these events the club uses Short Wave and VHF transmitting and receiving equipment to contact other Radio Amateurs all over the world. The club makes contacts with several hundred or even thousands of Amateur Radio stations this way.

The vehicle also allows the club to demonstrate the latest D-STAR digital Amateur radio technology to the public and hopefully interest some of them enough to take up the hobby.

Read more on the Icom UK website

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YOTA 2014 Team Leader wanted

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

The RSGB are looking for a person to lead the UK team in Finland at Youngsters On The Air 2014

Read the RSGB announcement at

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DMR Digital Voice repeaters licenced

Tuesday 21st January 2014

On January 20, 2014 Ofcom issued licences for three DMR amateur radio repeaters, GB7BS, GB7SD and GB7JB

Dave G3ZXX writing on the GB7JB blog says:-

As you are all aware, on the 14th November I applied for an NoV to establish a 70cm DMR Digital Voice repeater, to be located at Willoughby Hedge, along side GB3JB.

On the 9th December ETCC, approved the application and passed it to Ofcom, with the recommendation to issue an NoV.

I can report that the NoV has been granted, in what as far as I'm concerned, must be a record time for a 70cm repeater.

In fact all three applications, for GB7BS, GB7SD and GB7JB, have been granted and cleared to go, today, 20th January 2014.

This very quick clearance does give us a all slight problem in that all three applicants had been expecting the more normal inordinate amount of time to elapse, while MoD etc., considered the applications.

We will be co-ordinating our approaches to getting the repeaters operational, and the networking established.

I will provide more info regarding GB7JB, and the other systems, as and when available.

GB7JB Blog

RSGB ETCC UK Repeaters website

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GB3VHF back on the air

Tuesday 21st January 2014

The GB3VHF amateur radio 144.430 MHz beacon is again operational following power supply problems

A report by Chris G0FDZ on the beacon website reads:-

The beacon returned to the air at 10:45z on Monday, January 20 after suffering a power supply problem which was caused by an electricity company pole-mounted transformer failing during a recent storm and causing a large power surge. The beacon is now operating to its published parameters but the electricity company's temporary power arrangements still apply. The transformer is due for replacement soon and there will be a short outage of GB3VHF whilst this is being done. I have no knowledge of the exact date on which this work is to be carried out.

Some photos can be seen on the GB3VHF Service News page showing the temporary power arrangements made by the electricity company. Note the electricity company's mains supply generator supplying power to the pole distribution feeding domestic and other users in the lane (as well as GB3VHF in the site sharing hut). Also shown is the result of a large oak tree falling across the lane.

GB3VHF Service News

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TV broadcasters fear digital frequency spectrum battle

Tuesday 21st January 2014

BBC News report that demand for new mobile services is growing so fast that the UK's TV networks fear they may be squeezed out by competition for limited frequencies on the radio spectrum they broadcast over.

The Freeview digital TV stations are unhappy about a plan to move them from their existing broadcast frequencies, and worry about being asked to make do with less spectrum overall in the long run.

Their umbrella body, Digital UK, has issued a report emphasising the economic and social importance of digital terrestrial television (DTT) services like Freeview.

It also questions the predictions of mushrooming demand from the communications regulator Ofcom and the mobile phone companies.

Ofcom has said demand for superfast 4G and 5G mobile services, such as watching video on the move, and from the increasing number of other internet-connected devices, could increase 80-fold by 2030.

The largest mobile phone operator, Everything Everywhere, said there was a growing consensus that mobile broadband needed more spectrum.

"People do more and more on their phones and we obviously need to keep up with our customers," it has said.

Read the full BBC News story at:

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SolderSmoke Amateur Radio Podcast 158

Tuesday 21st January 2014

A new episode of the SolderSmoke amateur radio Podcast is now available

In this edition:-

- MLK Day. Tough winter. Shack heated by Heathkit.
- BITX 20/40 Almost done:
- Band-switching arrangement.
- VFO construction using spreadsheets.
- 2N2222s wired in backwards! (CBE not EBC! Who knew?)
- Other amusing building errors.
- Crystal filter evaluation -- the G3UUR method.
- Sweeping a filter with an Arduino DDS.
- Building a BITX in LTSpice.
- New Rigol 'scope (now 100 MHz).
- Tek 465 Reborn!
- QRP Haters -- They are out there!
- Mailbag

Listen to

For Podcasts :

For the associated blog see:

Check out "SolderSmoke -- The Book":

SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics available on Amazon's Kindle e-reader:

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UK Radio Telescopes

Tuesday 21st January 2014

The UK Microwave Group website now has a map showing those UK professional radio telescopes recognised by Ofcom which can have protection zones

If you zoom into the sites in satellite mode you can get a nice view of the dishes.

UKUG Radio Telescopes

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 20th January 2014

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 12th-January, through Sunday, 19th-January there were 224 countries active.

Countries available:

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

A2, A3, A4, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C2, C3, C5, C6, C9, CE, CE0Y, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D4, DL, DU, E5/s, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EP, ER, ES, EU, EX, EY, EZ, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FP, FR, FS, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, 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, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ7, PY, PZ, S2, S5, S7, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T2, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TN, TR, TT, TU, TY, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V3, V4, V5, V7, V8, VE, VK, VP2E, VP2V, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9, VR, VU, XE, XT, XU, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z2, Z3, Z8, ZA, ZB, ZC4, ZD7, ZF, ZL, ZL9, 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).


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New guide promotes educational value of FUNcube-1 spacecraft

Sunday 19th January 2014

A new instructional guide helps teachers and radio amateurs access and use the AMSAT-UK FUNcube Materials Science Experiment (MSE) resource carried on-board FUNcube-1 (AO-73)

The ARRL report:-

A new FUNcube guide developed by ARRL Education & Technology Program ( ETP) Director Mark Spencer, WA8SME, aims to maximize the educational focus of the tiny FUNcube-1 (AO-73) satellite.

Spencer’s Pragmatic Guide for Using the FUNcube (AO-73) Materials Science Experiment in the Classroom prompts readers to dig beyond AO-73’s Amateur Radio transponder and telemetry uploads and downloads and “take a closer look at what is really going on” as the satellite orbits Earth. The diminutive spacecraft includes an AMSAT-UK-developed materials science experiment (MSE).

Spencer’s guide helps teachers and students to analyze telemetry and apply the laws of thermodynamics to examine how heat is radiated into space from materials having different surface finishes.

“The primary mission of the FUNcube is education, and the MSE is the focus of that mission,” Spencer said. When it’s not in educational mode the spacecraft switches on an Amateur Radio SSB/CW inverting transponder (435.150-435.130 MHz LSB up/145.950-145.970 MHz USB down). “I know there is an ongoing discussion of the value of CubeSat telemetry when compared to transponder operations,” he said. “You just might find that an occasional look at the telemetry will help you better understand satellites and make you a better satellite operator.”

As Spencer explained, the FUNcube-1 MSE includes two separate experiments — one using the thermally isolated aluminum bars mounted on one face of the satellite, and the second using four aluminum bars that form part of the satellite’s body in the corners of the cube. MSE data are transmitted via a 2 meter downlink (145.935 MHz BPSK) and decoded and displayed by the AMSAT-UK Dashboard software.

“Collecting the data is only part of the education mission,” Spencer said. “The other — and more meaningful part — is interpreting the data.” That, he explained, starts with a thermodynamics refresher. “In the broadest terms, thermodynamics is the study of how heat moves from one place to another,” he continued. “The purpose of the FUNcube MSE is to allow students to witness heat transfer by radiation firsthand in an environment — space — where convection and conduction are not present.”

Spencer called the FUNcube MSE “an exceptional educational resource,” and he praised AMSAT-UK’s efforts. “It’s now our turn to gain as much as we can from their efforts, and I hope the Guide will help you get started.”

AMSAT-UK said its FUNcube project was designed “to create an educational CubeSat which is intended to enthuse, excite and educate students about radio, space, physics and electronics. It will also support educational science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives.” FUNcube-1 was put into orbit as a standalone 1U (10 × 10 × 10 centimeters) CubeSat. The follow-on FUNcube-2 will be part of the UKube-1 3U spacecraft.

Visit ARRL’s Classroom Library: Satellite Communications page, which includes a link to the new guide, for more information on bringing space into the classroom. AMSAT-UK has put out its own FUNcube Handbook to provide some practical advice to interested hams and classroom teachers on how to access and use the satellite’s onboard MSE.

Source: ARRL

BBC News video about FUNcube-1

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Spy agencies around the world use radio

Sunday 19th January 2014

Reports last week that the National Security Agency uses radio signals to collect data from tens of thousands of non-U.S. computers, some not connected to the Internet, is sure to fuel more acrimony towards the U.S. spy agency.

But observers note that the NSA is not the first of the world's spy agencies to use such technology to surreptitiously gather classified information from other countries.

For instance, intelligence personnel in the former Soviet Union used similar tactics to secretly gather information from electric typewriters at U.S. government offices in Moscow and Leningrad more than 30 years ago. And experts say it's a near certainty that the spy agencies of other advanced nations are doing the same thing today.

"Physical compromise of a target's technology is what we expect intelligence agencies to do," said John Pescatore, director of emerging technology at the SANS Institute and a former NSA security engineer.

"The Chinese have been doing it to the laptops and smartphones of foreign executives visiting China. Years ago the French did similar things in their country and I'm sure British intelligence has done the same thing," Pescatore said. "What the NSA is doing now is what all superpower intelligence agencies have done, are doing, and will do."

The New York Times reported Tuesday that documents leaked last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA has embedded software and hardware "bugs" in some 100,000 targeted systems around the world. The "bugs" allow the NSA to collect information from the systems even when they are not connected to the Internet.

Read the full Computerworld article at:

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A few words from our Secretary !

Saturday 18th January 2014

"I was very pleased that there was a much better attendance at our A G M on Wednesday 8th January than there has been in recent years, and my thanks to everyone who braved the cold evening.

It was also fantastic to see two recent members joining the committee after they either freely volunteered or were coerced in to it. (I am not sure which it was) but whatever .. it was very heartening.

For those who were unable to make it, here is an update on the Committee for the next 12 months


Chairman - Geoff G 4 WUA
Treasurer - Neil M 0 WBG
Secretary - Simon G 6 XHF

Other members

Phil - G 6 IIM
Gordon - G 8 MMM
Tony - M 0 DWU
Andy - M 6 MEQ

Geoff has agreed to take on the Chairman’s role on a temporary basis for 6 months so that we didn’t have the situation of having no chairman.  This will be reviewed in June.

Tuesday 14th January - UKAC

This week we have the first 70 Cms. UKAC Contest. We had NINE members on air for last week’s 2M event so let’s see if we can keep up the performance this week. We came 10th last year and most of the operators from WADARC didn’t even start competing until April at the earliest so with us all on from the start this time and anyone else chipping in when they can .. we are hoping for greater things this year.

Wednesday 15th January

The D and W is at The HOOTON HOTEL, on the B 5133 HOOTON ROAD between WILLASTON VILLAGE and the A 41 -  {CH66 7NL For satnav}

Next Wednesday 22nd January

The first of our bi-annual Cherished Equipment (Junk) sale but please don’t wait until the last minute and scurry round trying to find something to bring…… Get into the shack this weekend and have a blitz……. All we ask is that you bring two lists of what you are selling to assist our treasurer and auctioneer.

Reminder – Non-members will be charged a £2:00 admission fee so if you haven’t paid your subs for this year, it would be a good opportunity to do so…. Neil is always willing to take money from you

£22:00 For full members – (£15:00 if you are retired) and £5:00 for ‘Country’ members. – Under 18s in full time education are free.

73 for now

Simon G6XHF

Secretary WADARC

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RADCOM article by Rufus Binks M0WMD

Saturday 18th January 2014

The February edition of the the RSGB magazine RADCOM features an article on the club's efforts for GB7BOA and GB7WA by our club member Rufus Binks M0WMD

You may remember that back in September he had a similar article published in Practical Wireless.

Click to read his article

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CQ-DATV 8 now available

Saturday 18th January 2014

CQ-DATV 8 the free monthly ATV magazine is now available for download in PDF and all the eBook formats.

This is the February issue and has all the usual ATV news, plus part 3 of the GB3FY story, the latest on the DATV express project, a simple single chip on screen display generator and much more.

Point your browser at

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RSGB: IARU 2014 Consultation

Saturday 18th January 2014

The RSGB has established three discussion forums for the IARU Region-1 General Conference that will be held in Varna, Bulgaria in September 2014

There are separate boards covering General Matters (C3), HF (C4) and VHF/UHF/Microwaves (C5).

When signing up to the discussion forum the answer to the verification question "Who issues amateur radio licences in the UK ?" is Ofcom.

IARU 2014 consultation

The RSGB IARU discussion forums can be found at

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GB3VHF status update Jan 17

Saturday 18th January 2014

The GB3VHF 144.430 MHz beacon is currently off the air. A further site visit was made on Friday, January 17

A report by Chris G0FDZ on the beacon website reads:

The beacon is currently off the air and a site visit was made on Friday, January 17, but the very heavy overnight rain has further caused problems to the site sharing hut door and it is impossible to gain entry at this time. The problem has been reported and is awaiting action. This status of the problem with the door has been raised to 'urgent', but I have not been informed exactly when a permanent repair will be carried out, although I am hoping that it will be OK in a week's time.

The problem with the beacon is failure of the 12 & 24 volt driver power supplies and the components needed to repair this unit have now been obtained. Assuming that no other damage has been done to the rest of the beacon it is hoped to return it to service soon and this will depend upon satisfactory access.

Some photos of the temporary power arrangements made by the electricity company can be seen on the GB3VHF Service News page. Note the electricity company's mains supply generator supplying power to the pole distribution feeding domestic and other users in the lane (as well as the site sharing hut). The electricity company's pole mounted transformer that caused the initial problems to the site is due to be replaced very soon. Also shown is the result of a large oak tree falling across the lane.

More news in due course.

GB3VHF Service News

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The best Amateur Radio and shortwave apps for iOS and Android smart phones

Saturday 18th January 2014

Advances in technology have always gone hand-in-hand with our radio hobby - indeed, in many cases, those advances originated with our hobby.

Because of this, it should comes as no surprise that in a world where we are rapidly replacing home computing with mobile computing, radio hobbies are “app-ly” supported in the the mobile realm.

Check out our extensive list of Ham Radio apps:

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January 432 and Above EME Newsletter

Saturday 18th January 2014

The January 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

Previous newsletters are at

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BBC News: Has the Sun gone to sleep?

Saturday 18th January 2014

Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of 'solar lull' - meaning that it has fallen asleep - and it is baffling them

History suggests that periods of unusual "solar lull" coincide with bitterly cold winters.

Rebecca Morelle reports for BBC Newsnight on the effect this inactivity could have on our current climate.

Watch the BBC video at

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AX for Australia Day

Friday 17th January 2014

All radio amateurs in Australia may use the alternative AX callsign prefix instead of VK on Australia Day, January 26.

The day marks the First Fleet's arrival in 1788 at Sydney Gove, the establishment of a European settlement at Port Jackson, and the raising of the British flag by Governor Arthur Phillip.

On Australia Day many celebrate their country and culture. This includes the granting of awards, honours and the welcoming to citizenship of many qualifying immigrants.

Popular on air is the AX prefix. The use of a special QSL card with it is greatly encouraged.

The alternative AX prefix, under a permanent agreement between the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Wireless Institute of Australia, is also available on Anzac Day, April 25 and International Telecommunications Day, May 17.

Jim Linton VK3PC

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Ofcom Licence Consultation

Friday 17th January 2014

The Ofcom consultation Notice on proposal to make the Wireless Telegraphy (Limitations of Number of Licences) Order closed last Friday, January 10

In the amateur radio section the notice covers the conditions Ofcom may impose for getting an amateur licence back after a revocation following a breach of any of the terms, conditions or limitations of the Life-Time licence. Perhaps one of the possible breaches Ofcom have in mind is the failure to revalidate the Life-Time licence every five years.

It is understood that Ofcom haven't revoked any Life-Time amateur radio licences since they were first introduced over seven years ago at the end of 2006. At some point in the coming months it is likely that Ofcom will initiate a revocation procedure on the 40,000+ amateur licences that have not been revalidated.

Consultation document

Consultation page

The Essex Ham website shows that validating your licence is a straight-forward procedure. If you experience difficulties or need assistance in
processing your licence online, please call Ofcom on 0300 123 1000 or 020-7981 3131.

Read the Essex Ham Validation Guide at

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MacLoggerDX version 5.51 released

Friday 17th January 2014

Dog Park Software is pleased to announce that version 5.51 of MacLoggerDX has been released.

What's New in this version:

• Added Voice Recorder to Keyer (10.7+).
• Added SmartSDR 1.1 support.
• Added Tweet logged QSOs in real time (10.8+).
• Added Local Weather to local time servers.
• Improved handling of skimmer spots.
• Added Font popup to QSL panel.
• Added Bands Worked and Bands Confirmed to WAS Awards panel.
• Added Yaesu FTdx1200 driver.
• Added Ten-Tec Argonaut VI driver.
• Fixed Yaesu FT-100, FTdx1200, 3000, 5000, 9000,
• FT-450, 950, 2000 Alternate VFO bug.
• Radio driver Command Delay fixed.
• Improved energy management.
• RSTR/S persistent values fixed.
• 2D/3D Map display of Rotor bearing (only rotor controllers with read back).
• FT-950 VFO B, Split bug fixed.

MacLoggerDX is the Total Mac Ham Radio Assistant and premier Mac logger:

Organizing and filtering the spots from your favourite DX Cluster for DXing, Contesting or casual rag-chewing.

It supports close to a hundred radios, automatically tuning to the spots you are interested in and optionally swinging your beam around.

Alerting you to rare contacts or Band Openings and looking up, displaying on 2D, 3D and Satellite Maps and logging your contacts to a super fast sql database.

MacLoggerDX can also email you when the Bands are open or that rare DX is spotted.

Awards Tracking, Band Activity, Schedules, Memories, QSL Generation, ADIF import, export, eQSL, LoTW Confirmations and much more.

This is a free update for all Version 5 customers and can be downloaded from:

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AmateurLogic.TV 62: It’s Alive!

Friday 17th January 2014

George gets the Raspberry Pi Echolink node on-the-air. Solving the GPIO problem, building a relay interface for the Pi, and using a Circuit Writer pen to create a PC board.

Tommy reviews the new DHAP. A Hardened case, computer, power supply and more for your D-Star DVAP access point.

Peter does some time lapse photography with the Raspberry Pi camera module. Plus the usual tech talk and witty banter you can always count on.

1:05:06 of AmateurLogic to start the new year right.


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Japan to test 'magnetic net' that can fish out floating space junk

Friday 17th January 2014

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) is teaming up with a company that manufactures fishing equipment to create a net that will sweep the heavens of the man-made debris orbiting our planet.

The first test of the equipment is scheduled to start in late February, when a rocket will be launched and a satellite developed by researchers at Kagawa University will be deployed.

Once in orbit, the satellite is designed to unreel a wire net some 300 metres long that will then generate a magnetic field and - theoretically - attract some of the debris that is circulating beyond our atmosphere.

And there is a growing need for outer space to undergo a good clean-up, with experts estimating that 100 million bits of man-made junk zipping around the earth.

Of that total, some 22,000 are believed to measure 10 cm or larger and are therefore considered dangerous.

The majority of the debris is in a band between 700 kilometres and 1,000 kilometres above the surface of the planet, mostly parts of obsolescent and degrading satellites and rockets.

Out of control and impossible to accurately monitor, even the smallest piece of detritus - a single bolt, for example - could have a catastrophic result if it collides with a functioning satellite or the International Space Station, which has a permanent human crew aboard.

Read the full South China Morning Post article at:

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GB3VHF  beacon update

Wednesday 15th January 2014

The GB3VHF 144.430 MHz beacon is currently off the air. A site visit was made on January 15 and access was gained to the site sharers hut

A report by Chris G0FDZ on the beacon website reads:

The problem is failure of the beacon's 12 & 24 volt driver power supplies. A site visit is now planned for Friday (17th) and measures are now in hand to obtain the components to fix the problem at that visit if possible, and assuming that no other damage has been done to the rest of the beacon it is hoped to return it to service soon.

More news in due course.

GB3VHF Service News

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Ofcom: 2.3 and 3.4 GHz Consultation Responses

Wednesday 15th January 2014

The responses to Ofcom's consultation on the 2300 and 3400 MHz bands are now available

The joint RSGB, UK Microwave Group, AMSAT-UK and BATC response says:

Amateur radio has international secondary allocations in the 2300 and 3400 MHz bands, which are adversely affected by Public Sector Spectrum Release (PSSR). Whilst the detailed impact on amateur radio usage has been covered in an earlier Ofcom consultation, a continuing concern is to achieve a harmonised solution that gives both existing and new users a degree of certainty and consistency. This is particularly true for frequency segments that are key for long distance weak-signal amateur and amateur-satellite activity, such as 3400-3410 MHz.

In this respect the proposed 3.4 GHz Time Division Duplex (TDD) band plan (currently on CEPT consultation) is of serious concern as we discuss overleaf, and would welcome Ofcom taking a more pro-active stance to refine it.

Read the joint response at

Other responses

Ofcom 2300 and 3400 MHz consultation

Also see the Spectrum Sharing Consultation

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Cyber-security: Small satellite dish systems called ripe for hacking

Wednesday 15th January 2014

Thousands of small satellite dish-based computer systems that transmit often-sensitive data from far flung locations worldwide – oil rigs, ships at sea, banks, and even power grid substations – are at high risk of being hacked, including many in the United States, a new cyber-security report has found.

Very-small-aperture terminals, or VSATs, are workhorses for the oil and gas industry, utilities, and even news media. Journalists send reports via VSAT from firebases in Afghanistan, energy companies gather production data from oil drilling operations, and retail outlets send sales data back to corporate headquarters every day. Banks use VSATs for transactions between branches and headquarters.

But at least 10,500 of those terminals globally are wide open to being hacked, including some used in critical US infrastructure systems, according to the new report by IntelCrawler, a Los Angeles-based cyber-security firm.

Read the full Christian Science Monitor article at:

VSAT terminals are opened for targeted cyber attacks

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W5KUB Streaming Video

Wednesday 15th January 2014

Have you ever wanted to go to a Ham radio event such as Hamvention but were not able to go for a number of reasons?

Now, with just a computer and internet connection you can virtually attend these events. has been webcasting hamfests for over 11 years.
The webcast has viewers in over 150 countries, and pulls an audience of approximately 50,000 viewers during the Dayton Hamvention.

Every year that W5KUB.COM has been webcasting they have been making improvements to the equipment and the technology. Today you can watch near HD quality video of these events in full screen on your computer.

There are several different aspects which make the webcast enjoyable.

First the webcast page has a chat room where hams around the world can log in and chat directly with the W5KUB.COM group at the event.
In addition to being able to ask real time questions and receive answers from vendors such as MFJ, ICOM, Yaesu and more, online viewers are able to chat with other hams, some located on the opposite side of the world.

Secondly, and this is the fun part, W5KUB.COM gives out prizes to online viewers. There is no cost to anyone! Viewers just have to be logged in to the chat room and winners are randomly picked from the list of logged in viewers. The winner must claim the prize within the allotted timeframe (usually 2-3 minutes) to win it. Prizes vary from magazine subscriptions to high end equipment such as D-STAR radios, watt meters, HTs, dual band radios, antenna tuners, microphones, and more. In the last two years, over $26,000 in prizes have been awarded to viewers. Many hamfest don’t award this much!

And thirdly, viewers get to virtually make the trip and ride along during the drive to and from the hamfest. The webcast usually starts one or two days before the ham event. Viewers are 'virtually' in the passenger seat and experience the entire drive, even getting pulled over by the police for speeding! Viewers also get to see the scenery while APRS on the W5KUB.COM page identifies their exact location and driving speed on the map.

W5KUB.COM plans to expand the next Hamvention show with new and special guests, in addition to regular interviews with manufacturers. To assure the best quality video, a dedicated Ka band satellite uplink will be installed for our internet connection.

 Tom Medlin, W5KUB at the Huntsville Hamfest

The 2014 Dayton Hamvention schedule:                                                                          

Wed. May 14 th 1300 UTC - go live beginning with the drive from Memphis, Tennessee to Dayton, Ohio -550 Miles and 10 hours of driving

Thurs May 15 th 1400 UTC - Webcast booth setup at Hamvention

Friday May 16 th 1300 UTC -Hamvention webcast begins

Saturday May 17 th 1300 UTC - Second day of Hamvention webcast

Sunday May 18 th 1300 UTC - Third day of Hamvention webcast

Sunday May 18 th approximately 1800 UTC - begin the webcast of the drive from Dayton, Ohio back to Memphis, Tennessee

W5KUB.COM has a Facebook group for viewers to follow the webcast and to provide suggestions throughout the year and discuss all aspects of ham radio. Our Facebook group is .

To join the webcast go to

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RAG 2014 tickets on sale

Wednesday 15th January 2014

The BAA Radio Astronomy Group will be holding its 2014 General Meeting on Saturday, May 17 at the National Space Centre, Leicester, LE4 5NS (Photo Right).

The last two meetings have both sold out ahead of the day and early booking is advisable.

This year Dr Klaas Wiersema (University
of Leicester) will describe how new radio telescope technologies enable the exploration of the "transient" radio Universe, from the mysterious millisecond duration "fast radio bursts" to the energetic afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) which are sometimes visible for years. The presentation will show how new technology is allowing us to study afterglows and other transients in a completely new way.

Supporting papers so far offered are: an ultra-low cost Hydrogen Line radio telescope (Peter East); the modelling of our local galactic topology (Gordon Dennis); the design of an Arduino-based magnetometer (Jonathan Rawlinson); making and analysing observations with Starbase (Laurence Newell); experiments with a small SDR radio telescope (David Morgan); and reports on developments at EAARO (Jason Williams M0YJW) and the Harold Clayton Observatory (Dave James).

Tickets for the event cost £12 for BAA members and £15 for non-members, including free parking at the NSC and free admission to the main attraction, excluding the Planetarium show. Tea and coffee will be provided during the breaks but lunch is not included. Delegates are welcome to bring their own lunch or the NSC shop (Boosters) sells a range of sandwiches and other refreshments. It would help the NSC if you could also note the number of people in your party that are likely to use Boosters when you book tickets.

All ticket sales will be via the BAA but you do not need to be a BAA member to purchase tickets. A Booking Form is available at the BAA RAG website at from where you can also download the latest edition of RAGazine.

The closing date for the next edition of RAGazine is February 7. Please think whether you can offer any material for this or future editions.
This can be a technical or education article (inc. work in progress, or a negative experiment); project ideas; appeals for teaming; news items; practical tips; relevant professional developments; humour; book reviews; useful resources; parts and equipment news and reviews; observatories; calendar events, etc. RAGazine covers newcomers through experienced folk, radio astronomy and geophysics, without restriction over frequency range or technology base.

If you have any queries regarding the RAG 2014 event, please mail me direct at: radiogroup <at>

Best wishes
Paul Hyde G4CSD
BAA RAG Coordinator

BAA-RAG Yahoo Group

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Surrey Space Centre Deorbitsail CubeSat

Wednesday 15th January 2014

Students and researchers at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) in the University of Surrey, Guilford, are developing the 3U CubeSat Deorbitsail.

It is planned Deorbitsail will launch on a Dnepr rocket into a 600 km Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The aims of the mission are:

(1) Deploy a large (5-by-5-metre) square Kapton sail.

(2) Deorbitsail is equipped with 3-axis-stabilizing attitude determination and control system. A novel capability of this system is pointing via Centre-Of-Mass / Centre-Of-Pressure (COM/COP) offset.

(3) The satellite will deorbit much more quickly than otherwise due to its deployable sail. Satellite pointing will be optimized by the attitude control system for maximum drag.

(4) The satellite will provide beacons which radio amateurs will be able to receive. The ISIS VHF downlink will use 9k6 BPSK.

For further information read DeOrbitSail Nanosatellite Mission


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FUNcube-1 in Practical Wireless Magazine

Tuesday 14th January 2014

In the February issue of Practical Wireless, the Data Modes column, written by Mike Richards G4WNC, devotes three pages to describing how to receive the signals from the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) satellite

The World of VHF column by Tim Kirby G4VXE also covers FUNcube-1 and what is believed to be the first contact between Cuba and the UK on the FO-29 satellite. The contact took place on October 19, 2013 between Hector Martinez CO6CBF and Peter Atkins G4DOL.

It is understood that postal copies of Practical Wireless can be purchased using a Debit or Credit card, by ringing +44 (0)1202 751611 Monday – Thursday 8.30am – 4.00pm.

Practical Wireless

G4WNC Data Modes Yahoo Group

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Tracking the Amsterdam Island DXpedition team

Tuesday 14th January 2014

It was announced this past week that you will be able to track and work the FT5ZM team on the Braveheart on their journey to Amsterdam Island.

The team will use the callsign VK6FZM/mm.

You can track them at:

QSL via ClubLog or via N2OO via regular mail or Bureau.


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Understanding HF propagation reports

Tuesday 14th January 2014

Richard VE2XIP has written an interesting article about interpreting HF propagation reports

Well worth a read !

Read it at

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Tuesday 14th January 2014

Astronomy.FM was founded in 2009 by a group of like-minded professional and amateur astronomers as an outreach organization.

AFM*Radio was launched shortly thereafter and is currently the group’s primary outreach medium. AFM*Radio is the only 24-hour internet radio station in the Known Universe dedicated to astronomy and other sciences.

The fundamental mission of our organization is to educate and inspire our listening audience through original AFM*Radio programming, live event coverage, and selected syndicated content. We currently broadcast to approximately 20,000 unique English-speaking listeners, in 85 countries, every month.

AFM is entirely funded through donations from our audience. We are an all-volunteer non-profit organization. All revenue is spent on hardware, software, radio programming, and broadcast bandwidth.

AFM is governed by a 10-member Board of Trustees, 4 of whom are officers of the organization and responsible for operations. Board members include founders and other individuals who were invited to participate in the strategic direction of Astronomy.FM.

See more at:

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Audio Interviews -
Amsterdam Island DXpedition

Monday 13th January 2014

On the weekend of the 11th and 12th of January 2014, I was fortunate enough to interview many of the members of the Amsterdam Island DXpedition to activate FT5ZM.

This is a DX community funded expedition with a $450,000 budget. It involves shipping 14 people to Amsterdam Island in the Indian Ocean with radios, antennas and computers and operating the station for two weeks.

The interviews range in length from 03:55 to 16:41 and cover all aspects of the DXpedition, from planning, to funding and fundraising, working a pile-up, building antennas, shack layout, computing infrastructure, day in the life, temperature and the journey.

I hope you enjoy and share the interviews and that it encourages more people into the hobby of Amateur Radio and more people to work DX across the world.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:


The interviews are in mono 256kbit mp3 format and can be downloaded from here:

More information about the DXpedition can be found online at:

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GB3OA Southport repeater web stream

Monday 13th January 2014

2m repeater and node GB3OA Southport can now be listened to worldwide! - using a stream feeder of the output of GB3OA into Shoutcast

Anywhere in the world go into your smartphone browser, tablet or PC, go to and type GB3OA into the search bar.

Then click the play icon next to the name and advance the volume control at the bottom of the page. If no QSO is in progress you'll hear a chuffing sound, set the volume so that it can just be heard.

Listening to this feed you'll hear all that GB3OA outputs, including IRLP and Echolink contacts. Note that there is a delay of up to one minute - this cannot be changed as Shoutcast has a 1MB buffer.

How has all this been created? The output of a Baofeng UV-3R HT is fed into a 50p-sized USB soundcard which is plugged into a Raspberry Pi. Two programs are used in the Pi - ALSAMIXER sets the outgoing audio level and DARKICE converts this audio into 32k bps MP3 audio and sends it to the Shoutcast server as data. With all this going on the load on the Pi CPU is only 13%.

Also, DARKICE has been compiled with the MP3 LAME encoder which processes the audio. Sometimes the audio via Shoutcast may sound better than direct through your own rig!

At present this is all on test, so expect short breaks in the feed.... and another feature to this is being worked on, watch out for this news soon!

Note that for some reason iPads have problems listening to Shoutcast streams. The alternative is to use a browser and use this URL

Have fun!

Best 73s, Philip G8XVV, David G4TUP and Mark G4EID.

RV49 - 145.6125 - CTCSS 82.5Hz - IO83LP

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HamRadioNow: D-STAR Emergency Comms in Eire

Monday 13th January 2014

John Ronan EI7IG has been experimenting with throughput using multiple nodes on an amateur radio 1200 MHz D-STAR DD data system

Watch HamRadioNow Episode 121 from the DCC: OSLR and B.A.T.M.A.N over D-STAR

Other presentations from the 2013 TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference can be seen at

EI7IG Blog

Eire Amateur Radio Emergency Network

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 13th January 2014

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 5th-January, through Sunday, 12th-January there were 216 countries active.

Countries available:

1A, 3A, 3B8, 3V, 3W, 4J, 4L, 4O, 4S, 4U1I, 4X, 5A, 5B, 5H, 5R, 5V, 5W, 5Z, 6W, 6Y, 7X, 8P, 8Q, 8R, 9A, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9L, 9M2, 9M6, 9Q, 9V, 9X, 9Y,

A4, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C2, C3, C5, C6, C9, CE, CE0Y, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D4, DL, DU, E5/s, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, ER, ES, EU, EX, EY, EZ, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FP, FR, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, H40, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, 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, PY0F, PZ, S2, S5, S7, SM, SP, ST, SV, SV5, SV9, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TL, TR, TU, TY, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VP2E, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9, VR, VU, XE, XU, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, 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).


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IOTA News from OPDX

Monday 13th January 2014

Island activities:

AF-032. (Latest Info) A group of Italian operators will be active as 5I0DX from an Italian village at the Kiwengwa Beach Resort on Zanzibar Island (WWF 5HFF-003) between February 2-13th.

The European DXpedition Zanzibar 2014 Team wants to thank the sponsors, individual contributors, clubs and associations. Special thanks to the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the Tanzania Amateur Radio Club (TARC) and their secretary Hidan, 5H3HO, for the collaboration and help.

Activity will be on all HF bands 160-10 meters, including the 30/17/12 meter bands, using CW, SSB, PSK (31/63/125) and RTTY. Also, look for special SSB and Digital activity using the callsigns during this operation: 5I0AM (op. IS0AGY), 5I0WL (op. I8LWL) and 5H3AN (ops IK7JWX and IV3FSG). Current operators mentioned are Fred/IK7JWX, Leo/I8LWL, Ampelio/IS0AGY, Vincenzo/IZ8LFI, Elvira/IV3FSG (YL) and Fulvio/HB9DHG (CW op). Look for 5I0DX to participate in the CQ WPX RTTY Contest (February 8-9th).

It was announced earlier that this DXpedition will also be a humanitarian operation with donations of medicines to the "Italy Day Hospital". Italy QSL Manager is via IK7JWX. World QSL Manager is via IS0AGY, direct (3USD or 3 IRCs) or by the Bureau. All logs will be uploaded to LoTW and NetLog. They are looking for sponsors for donations to Radio Club of Dar Es Salaam and Italy Day Hospital of Zanzibar (See for details.). Currently, updates are available on Also, checkout the following FaceBook page:

AS-153. Members of the West Bengal Radio Club are now active as AU2MQT from Sagar Island until January 16th. Their activity coincides with the Ganga Sagar Mela pilgrimage:
For more details, see Operations will be on the HF bands.

EU-008. Members of the Black Country DX and Contest Group will be active as MS0OXE from Isle Of Tiree between March 25-31st.
Activity will be on 160-10 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY.
Operations will include the CQWW WPX SSB Contest (March 29-30th). QSL via M0URX's OQRS

Logs will be uploaded to ClubLog and LoTW upon their return home. For more details and updates, visit the following Web pages and Media feed:
Twitter feed: @bcdxcg_m0oxe

OC-033. Freddy, F5IRO, will be active as FK/F5IRO/p from Mare Island sometime during the second week in February. Activity will be on 40-10 meters CW only. QSL via F5IRO, by the REF Bureau or direct. For updates, visit Freddy's Blog page at:

OC-219. Operators YL Teti/YB2TET, Adhi/YB3MM and Budi/YF1AR are expected to activate Wangiwangi Island sometime in March. No other details were provided. Look for more info to be forthcoming.

SA-044. Members of the Grupo DX Caracas are planning to be active as YW5D from Isla la Tortuga sometime in July. QSL via DM4TI.
More details should be forthcoming.

SA-055. Carlos, LU8DCH, will be active as LU8DCH/D from Martin Garcia Island between February 21-23rd. Activity will be on the HF bands.
QSL via his home callsign direct.

SA-086. A Chilean team will be active as XR2T from Damas Island between April 16-20th. Operators mentioned are:
CW - Nicolas/XQ1KZ, Carlos/XQ1CR, Dercel/CE3KHZ, Alfredo/XQ3WD
and Danilo/XQ4CW
SSB/RTTY - Domingo/CE1DY, Claudio/XQ1FM, Mauricio/CE2WUI, Julio/CE3OP, Sergio/CE3WDH, Chris/CE3TAM, Juan/CE3RBJ and Rodrigo/CE4KCA

Activity will probably be on the IOTA frequencies. QSL via XQ4CW.
Look for more details to be forthcoming.

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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The geomagnetic storm that wasn’t

Sunday 12th January 2014

In her blog, Dr Gemma Kelly explains why the Aurora on January 9 didn't live up to expectations

Read the blog at

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New dipole centre balun

Sunday 12th January 2014

SOTAbeams has just released the latest in an ever-growing range of specialist portable products.

Their balun is combined with a dipole centre and has been designed to offer an excellent common mode impedance of over 1,500 Ohms across the entire HF range.

In keeping with SOTAbeams portable ethos, the balun has been designed to be lightweight and rugged, it is rated at 125 Watts.

Baluns are particularly useful in situations where RF in the shack may cause problems such as TVI. or interference to computers used for datamodes.

More at

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PLT: Powerline Network Interference Poll

Sunday 12th January 2014

With the rapidly approaching doomsday of the new super-PLT interferers of EN50561-1 ilk, we have been trying to better gauge the current level of disruption that existing PLT is causing radio users.

The idea is to determine the impact of the new PLT adapters in UK and Europe when they begin to commercially ship, but to do so we need a statistically significant poll result of how the existing generations of PLT have affected radio users before the new ones begin to be put into service.

The poll does not require you to be a member or to register, just come and tick the appropriate boxes. (Please be honest).

Even if PLT does not affect you, please vote as this will help balance the result (most people only tend to take the trouble to vote on something if they feel strongly about it - i.e. those who have been 'harmed' by PLT are more likely to take the time).

Many thanks to all who have already participated and HNY.

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Space Station orbit to be screened live on Channel 4

Saturday 11th January 2014

BBC News reports that Channel 4 is to screen a live broadcast featuring a complete orbit of the International Space Station (ISS), later this year.

The show, hosted by Dermot O'Leary, will link live to the astronauts from mission control in Houston as they make a 90-minute circuit of the Earth.

The ISS, which orbits 250 miles above the Earth, will send back High Definition live images of the planet.

Lap of the Planet screens in March as part of a space season.

It will also feature contributions from Professor Stephen Hawking and British astronaut Tim Peake, who is due to join the crew of the ISS next year.

Read the full story at:

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Russia: End of an era for long-wave listeners

Saturday 11th January 2014

Russia has quietly switched off nearly all of its long-wave transmitters, ending almost nine decades of broadcasting - as cost finally catches up on the medium

The BBC report that at 1am on 9 January, state-run Radio Rossii wound up its broadcast as usual with the national anthem. There was no mention that long-wave transmissions were coming to an end, and the following day listeners found they had to rely on local FM broadcasts and the internet to hear the station. The only state radio station with truly national coverage, Radio Rossii can be compared to BBC Radio 4 with its mix of news, drama and educational programmes.

Long-wave suited Russian broadcasters because a single transmitter could reach a wide area at all times of day and night. But they are expensive, and as most listeners have begun listening on FM, or through cable, satellite and the internet, the authorities decided to bring the service to an end..

Read the full BBC story at

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GB3VHF off the air

Saturday 11th January 2014

The 144.430 MHz beacon GB3VHF, located at BT Fairseat on the North Downs in Kent, is currently off the air following storm damage

A report by Chris G0FDZ on the beacon website reads:

The beacon is currently off the air and a site visit was made today (Friday 10th) to determine the reason. It is obvious that the beacon failed initially due to storm damage to the overhead mains feed, which apart from other users along the lane also feeds the site sharers hut.

Currently there is temporary mains power but it is supplied to the pole system via a generator in an adjacent field and not from the national grid. However, it was not possible to gain access to the beacon to determine the actual problem, as the door to the site sharers hut has swollen so much with the recent heavy rain that it was impossible to open. This has been reported to the site owner for action, and until it is fixed I am unable to move forward.

Assuming that mains has been restored satisfactorily to the site sharers hut, it is likely that damage has been done to the beacon power supplies due to a power surge caused by the initial fault condition. Once I gain access to the beacon I will endevour to repair the unit as soon as practically possible. More news in due course.

GB3VHF Service News

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New version of the Virtual Breadboard available

Saturday 11th January 2014

Virtual Breadboard or 'VBB' is a development and an emulation environment for embedded applications that use microcontrollers featuring Makeable Breadboard layouts that bring your designs to life.

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Ham Radio CubeSats launched to ISS

Friday 10th January 2014

On Thursday, January 9 at 1807 UT an Antares rocket launched the Cygnus freighter carrying a cargo of CubeSats to the International Space Station

There are four amateur radio CubeSats LituanicaSat-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2 and UAPSat-1. Also onboard is the 915 MHz CubeSat SkyCube and twenty eight 3U CubeSats from Planet Labs.

LituanicaSat-1 carries a 145/435 MHz FM transponder while LitSat-1 is thought to carry a 435/145 MHz linear transponder for SSB/CW communications. It is expected the CubeSats will be deployed from the ISS in the coming months.

IARU coordinated frequencies are listed as:

• FM Transponder Uplink 145.950 MHz Downlink 435.180 MHz
• AX25 Uplink 145.850 MHz AX25 Downlink 437.550 MHz
• CW Beacon 437.275 MHz

• SSB Transponder Uplink 435.180 MHz Downlink 145.950 MHz
• AX25 Uplink 437.550 MHz Downlink 145.850 MHz

• 9k6 MSK CCSDS data format downlink 437.000 MHz ?

• AX.25 Packet Radio uplink 145.980 MHz downlink 437.385 MHz

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Milton Keynes gets Wirelessly charged buses

Friday 10th January 2014

Wirelessly charged electrical buses are being introduced in Milton Keynes near the National Radio Centre. It is thought the wireless chargers use HF radio frequencies

Eight buses will run on the Number 7 route, which covers 25 km (15 miles) between the Milton Keynes suburbs of Wolverton and Bletchley.

It is not clear how much interference this wireless charging will cause.

Read the BBC report at

National Radio Centre Bletchley Park

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IARUMS Newsletter now available

Thursday 9th January 2014

The IARU Monitoring System (IARUMS) newsletter reports a new Russian Over The Horizon (OTH) radar has appeared in the amateur radio 14 MHz band

The International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) Region 1 December 2013 newsletter can be read at

Please log your reports of Amateur Band intruders online at

Monitor the short wave bands on-line with a web based SDR receiver at

IARU Monitoring System (IARUMS)

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Norway to adopt e-forms for licenses

Thursday 9th January 2014

The Norwegian Postal and Telecommunications regulator (NPT) has published a thirteen-page document on its frequency management plans for 2014

They aim to bring in electronic application forms for licenses for private mobile radio systems (PMR), broadcasting and amateur radio.

Frequency Management Plan

NPT News in Google English

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CQ-DATV magazine mailing list

Wednesday 8th January 2014

CQ-DATV 8 the free Amateur Television magazine, is now having its finishing touches added prior to release.

If you would like to be contacted when it is available, there is now a mailing list at, add your email address and we will contact you when each issue is available for download.

We will be dual format publishing using PDF and all the usual eBook formats, so you can read it on your PC, MAC, iPad or any of the eBooks.

All the previous issues can also be downloaded from our site

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The first 3.4 GHz CubeSat

Wednesday 8th January 2014

UNSA-SAT1 hopes to be the first CubeSat to make use of the 3400 MHz ITU Amateur-Satellite Service allocation

Built by students at the Instituto Astronómico y Aeroespacial Pedro Paulet in Peru, UNSA-SAT1 is a 2U spacecraft (20x10x10cm) which will be part of the QB50 constellation of 50 CubeSats.

The aims of this CubeSat include: upper atmosphere science; radio communication experiments; technology demonstrator; education, training and outreach.

The team are proposing a 435 MHz transceiver using BPSK and additional transmitters on 2.4 GHz,and 5.8 GHz. They also also hope to have a 230 kbps BPSK downlink on 3.4 GHz - this will only operate in Region 2 when the spacecraft is overhead the ground station in Peru.

The ITU Amateur-Satellite allocation at 3400-3410 MHz is available in ITU Regions 2 and 3 but not currently in Region 1 (Europe/Africa) although it is believed Denmark and Norway have allocated the band to the Amateur-Satellite Service.

QB50: Amateur Radio transponder payloads to launch 2014

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DX Magazine's 2013 Most Wanted Countries Survey

Wednesday 8th January 2014

DX Magazine has published their Most Wanted Countries from a survey that was conducted in September/October 2013 time frame.

Here are the"Top 20" in the overall World-Wide Results as per DX Magazine (Jan./Feb. 2014 issue):

2013 2012
Rank Prefix Country Rank
1 P5 North Korea 1
2 KP1 Navassa Island 2
3 3Y/B Bouvet 3
4 FT5W Crozet 6
5 FT5Z Amsterdam 4
6 VK0/H Heard Island 5
7 BS7H Scarborough 7
8 ZS8M Marion Island 9
9 VP8/S South Sandwich 8
10 FT5T Tromelin Island 10
11 KH5 Palmyra 14
12 KH5K Kingman Reef 12
13 FR/JE Juan de Nova/Europa 18
14 BV9P Pratas Island 17
15 E3 Eritrea 16
16 KH9 Wake Island 21
17 VP8/G South Georgia 19
18 KH3 Johnston Island 20
19 CE0X San Felix 22
20 KH7K Kure Island 23

Carl, N4AA, Editor of QRZ DX/DX Magazine, states, "It is interesting to note that the same ten places are there for both 2012 and 2013... there are a few slight changes in ranking, but it is the same ten. That should change somewhat for 2014 with Tromelin and Amsterdam both scheduled for major DXpeditions."

The full list of the top 100 Most Wanted, World-Wide, are posted to the DX Publishing Web site at:

The continental rankings are in the January/February issue of the DX Magazine which is in the mail now. The band/mode breakdowns will be published in the March/April 2014 issue

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88, Or How Telegraphers Coded 'Love and Kisses'

Wednesday 8th January 2014

Yahoo Finance reports on the numeric codes originally used by telegraph operators, a few of which are still in use by radio amateurs today

Read the Yahoo story at

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Ofcom: Spectrum Sharing Consultation

Wednesday 8th January 2014

The responses to Ofcom's coonsultation on sharing spectrum are now available

The joint RSGB, UK Microwave Group, AMSAT-UK and BATC response says

The amateur and amateur satellite services have secondary allocations in the 2.4 and 5GHz bands (which would be impacted by further Wi-Fi growth), and are host to a variety of usage including amateur use including terrestrial, Earth-Moon-Earth(EME) and satellite communications.

We are particularly concerned to keep at least some segments available for noise-free weak-signal communications. Whilst recognising that Wi-Fi has an important economic contribution, we also have concerns regards recent moves in a EU Mandate to CEPT that would make 5GHz Wi-Fi co-Primary rather than License-exempt.

Read the joint response at

The other responses are at

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Special event station GB1RNLI

Tuesday 7th January 2014

Look for special event station GB1RNLI to be active between January 25-26th and possibly some limited operations on the evenings of Tuesday, Jan. 28th and Thursday, Jan. 30th.

This special event callsign will be used by Worksop Amateur Radio Society to promote 'SOS Radio Week' (Jan. 25th-Feb. 2nd) which is held each year to support the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution).

This year the club will be operating on HF (40-10m) and VHF 6m, 2m and 70cm using CW, SSB and Data modes.

The WAB Square is SK57.
QSL via eQSL or by the Bureau.

Full details about the RNLI are available at:

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 6th January 2014

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 29th-December, through Sunday, 5th-January there were 216 countries active.

Countries available:

1A, 3A, 3B8, 3D2, 3V, 3W, 4J, 4L, 4O, 4S, 4X, 5A, 5B, 5R, 5Z, 6W, 6Y, 7P, 7Q, 7X, 8P, 8R, 9A, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9M2, 9M6, 9V, 9X, 9Y,

A2, A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C2, C3, C5, C6, C9, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, DL, DU, E5/n, E5/s, E6, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EX, EY, F, FG, FH, FK, FM, FO, FR, FW, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, H40, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HH, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, 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, OH0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ5, PJ7, PY, PZ, R1FJ, S5, S7, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TR, TT, TU, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VP2E, VP5, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9, VR, VU, XE, XU, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z3, ZA, ZB, ZD7, ZD9, 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).


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Cycling around the world discovering true Amateur Radio spirit

Monday 6th January 2014

This is the story of an adventure across countries, continents and cultures, enriched by the spirit of Amateur Radio.

OZ1AA left Copenhagen by bicycle in October 2010 not knowing what to expect. After more than 20,000 km and three years on the road he learned that there is always a radio amateur around, ready to give a helping hand.

More information at

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Winter issue of AMSAT-UK OSCAR News available

Monday 6th January 2014

E-members of AMSAT-UK can now download the PDF of the Winter edition of the OSCAR News magazine here (as well as previous 2013 and 2012 issues).

The paper edition should be posted to members soon.

In this issue

• FUNcube-1 Operations Report
• FunCube Dongle Pro+ V2.0 on Shortwave
• The Fun-Loop
• Space Science at Someries Junior School
• A newcomers view of satellite operating
• UKube-1, ESEO, QB50pc1 – Update
• Low Cost DVB-S Receivers Suitable For HAMTV
• HAMTV Reception
• FUNcube-1 – The Launch – A Personal Account
• IET/RSGB Joint Meeting
• $50SAT a low cost amateur radio satellite
• Shorts

The AMSAT-UK Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January
1 each year.

Membership of AMSAT-UK is open to anyone who has an interest in
amateur radio satellites or space activities, including the International Space Station (ISS).

E-members of AMSAT-UK are able to download OSCAR News as a
convenient PDF that can be read on laptops, tablets or smartphones
anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Join as an E-member at Electronic (PDF)

There are two rates for the paper edition to cover the extra postage
Rest of the World (Overseas)


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Build a radio in less than 1 minute

Sunday 5th January 2014

Due to the numerous requests from his Build-a-radio-in-5-minutes, radio amateur Tommy Helgevold OZ4KID decided to make a better video with explanations on how to make a radio like this

He also decided to beat his old challenge as well... without further ado, I present to you - How to build a radio in less than 1 minute, can you build it?

There's even a schematic in the end of the video + an animated version of the entire breadboard setup.

Thanks for watching, & enjoy.

Watch Build a radio in less than 1 minute

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Giant Sunspot

Sunday 5th January 2014

Space weather report sunspot AR1944, which appeared on January 1st, is one of the largest sunspots of the current solar cycle

It's so big, people are noticing it as a naked-eye blemish on the solar disk.

Although the sunspot has been relatively quiet and stable since it first appeared on New Year's Day, a region of this size has the potential to produce significant activity. Indeed, NOAA forecasters, who say they are keeping a close eye on this behemoth, estimate a 75% chance of M-flares and a 30% chance of X-flares on Jan. 4th.

Space Weather

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AU2MQT for Ganga Sagar Mela 2014

Sunday 5th January 2014

Special event station AU2MQT will be on-the-air from January 9-16

Members of West Bengal Radio Club VU2MQT will be operating with the special callsign AU2MQT from Sagar Island, IOTA 153, West Bengal, during 9 to 16 January 2014 in connection with the Ganga Sagar Mela

More info in:

QSL via Ambarish Nag Biswas VU2JFA

National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) has provided equipment to be used during the occasion.


Jose Jacob, VU2JOS
National Institute of Amateur Radio
Hyderabad, India

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Crystal Palace testing QPSK Local TV

Sunday 5th January 2014

Crystal Palace have started Local TV tests using relatively low power DVB-T QPSK, rather than 16/64/256 QAM

QPSK works better at low Signal/Noise ratios and the transmissions should be receivable on a standard Freeview box. (You will need to initiate a retune on the box to automatic find the new channels).

Reception of Crystal Palace has been reported across Essex including Great Baddow, Danbury near Chelmsford as well as Clacton-on-Sea.

The transmission is on UHF Channel-29 and currently gives test cards on Ch 791/792.

Local TV

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Amsterdam Island DXpedition

Saturday 4th January 2014

Press Release: January 4, 2014

We are now 6 days from departure from the U.S.

The Braveheart is making its way across the Great Australian Bight and the North Corridor Radio Group of Western Australia has a stockpile of supplies queued up and waiting for us.

Momentum has taken over now and there is no turning back.

Upon arrival in Fremantle, the Braveheart will re-provision and refuel to 90,000 to 100,000 liters of fuel. We will load the materials we've obtained from the NCRG, do a little shopping for personal supplies, set up our maritime mobile station, take our sea sickness pills and patches, and be prepared to sail on January 15th.

We’ll be passing through some rare grids on the way to Amsterdam Island and we are anxious to hand out QSO's from them. Be sure to look for us on the bands and track us on our website in near real time. Landing on Amsterdam can be "exciting." Wish us good luck with this. We'll have some heavy work to do upon landing and expect our set up time to take at least a full day. We'll let you know when we get there.

This will be our last press release. It has been a long time of preparation and a great deal of work, but that is behind us now. The next time you hear from us, it will be a signal from the Braveheart or from Amsterdam Island.

As you can see from our financial status on our home page, we still need help. If you haven't helped us yet, please consider doing so. If you've supported us, thank you - you've kept us afloat to date.

73 - The Amsterdam Island DXpedition Team

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DATV-Express Project – update

Saturday 4th January 2014

Writing software to run at Operating System low levels and at the FPGA coding levels is challenging, complex, and can be very frustrating

The DATV-Express Project team has made the bitter-tasting decision that the one remaining significant software bug will postpone the sale of the DATV-Express product in early January to the general ham population.

Charles G4GUO has been working diligently to resolve a list of five remaining DATV-Express software bugs that we knew about at the start of December. Four of these five problems have now been resolved. Only one software bug remains… a design flaw somewhere in our PCR redesign of the Hauppauge MPEG2 faulty (on Linux) PCR clock and packet timestamp.

Ken W6HHC reports that most descriptive symptom of this bug is that “transmission video will freeze up on my STB in between 2 minutes and three minutes of PTT”. Other STBs and DVB-S analyzers are more robust. But as Ken explains…the project team does NOT want the user’s first experiences of our product to be “reception of my video froze up”.

The project team has resolved that general sales to hams will begin as soon as this last bug is resolved. Sales to programmers who are willing to work on software development will continue. Interested and willing programmers should contact G4GUO by e-mail to obtain a “PromoCode” if they are willing to assist in working on DATV-Express software.

A discounted price of US$200 (including all world-wide shipping costs) is available to programmers with a PromoCode via PayPal on the website.

The good news this month is that the DATV-Express web site is now fully functional, thanks to the efforts of Bob N8NT. Go to the web site at

You must register on the web site in order to see the full contents there.

More good news is that Art WA8RMC has completed a five-page datasheet for the DATV-Express product that can now be downloaded in PDF from

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OK! - Czech Republic is back on 5 MHz

Friday 3rd January 2014

At 0000hrs on January 1st 2014, Czech amateurs returned to 5 MHz after a break of two years following the conclusion of the original phase of their experimental activity at the end of 2011.

As a result of material presented on OK amateur 5 MHz operation following this and through subsequent discussions, Petr, OK1RP, is happy to report that CTU, the Czech telecommunications regulator together with agreement of their Ministry of Defence (MoD), has agreed to a further phase of experimental 5 Mhz activity. This is by means of a small number of individual permits valid until the end of 2014. Only 10 permits are available for 2014 based on written request to CTU.

Whilst originally limited to only one channel, 5260 kHz, OK amateurs issued with one of these special permits are now allowed use of six channels, common to many of the current amateur 5 MHz allocations. These are as follows
All USB Dial Frequencies in kHz
Maximum Power: 100W ERP Modes: USB, CW (+ 1.5kHz from USB Dial)

The permit holder is requested to prepare and send his experimental operation report to CTU no later than 31st. October 2014 in order that analysis of the operation on the different channels and modes can be made . This experimental operation permit on 5MHz band is allowed on a strictly SECONDARY basis and ITU Secondary User rules for protection of the Primary users must be observed at all times in order NOT to disrupt primary users’ operation on this band, therefore potentially jeopardizing amateur activity..

The permit holder should also follow IARU recommendations for 5MHz operation and agreements (5290 kHz allocation for beacon operation etc.)

More information will be available soon...

OK1RP 60 meter band blogspot page

CTU – Czech Telecommunications Office (English page)

Happy New Year to All & Best Wishes for 2014

Paul G4MWO

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Ottringham Calling/Radio Oranje repeat broadcast and photo gallery

Friday 3rd January 2014

The Ottringham Calling documentary on BBC Radio Humberside was repeated on New Year's Eve, so is still available on the Iplayer until 1300 Tuesday January 7 at

Much of the programme dealt with the site relaying Radio Oranje from the Dutch Government in exile during WW2, including excerpts of Radio Oranje programmes for the first time translated into English, a visit to the Dutch resistance museum in Amsterdam and a visit to what remains of the former site.

There is also now a gallery on Flickr to accompany the programme with 47 photos from the museum and of the present day site. All Dutch radios had to be handed into the Germans in May 1943, the photos include one of them being stored, illegal radios made by the Dutch and a frame aerial described as a "moffenzeef" or "German seive" antenna built by someone during the German occupation of the Netherlands to reduce the interference from the German jamming stations. The RAF dropped leaflets on the Netherlands showing people how to make such an antenna.

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2014 Bath Buildathon

Friday 3rd January 2014

The next Bath Buildathon is to be held on Saturday, January 4, 2014

The aim of the event is to encourage newcomers to have a go at homebrewing radio equipment under the watchful eye of some experienced radio constructors.
Previous events have all been very successful and the team are expecting a repeat performance this year.

The kit chosen for the 2014 Bath Buildathon is the 20m PSK Centenary Receiver that was developed for the RSGB Centenary Day and featured in the September edition of RadCom. The receiver was specifically designed for the newcomer so you can be confident that you will go home with a working 20m PSK receiver.

The Buildathon is planned to run from 09.00 to 17.00. All soldering and test equipment will be made available on the day. The cost of the day will be £25 to include the cost of the kit, room hire, use of tools, tea, coffee, biscuits, etc. You just need to bring yourself and a packed lunch.

Places will be limited to ensure that everyone gets good mentoring from one of the local tutors so interested parties are advised to book early.

There will be two free places available for young amateurs who are still in full-time education. Nominations for those places need to be made by a parent or other responsible adult by Friday, December 13.
The nominations need to include some detail of why the young person would like to attend. If there are more than two nominations the Bath Buildathon Crew will make the selection based on the nominations. The free place does not include cost of transport to/from Bath.

Intermediate Practical Assessments will also be available on the day.

For further details, please contact Steve Hartley, G0FUW by e-mail at G0FUW<at>

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New Year's Day Solar Flare

Thursday 2nd January 2014

Space Weather report 2014 began with a bang. At 18:54 UT on January 1, big sunspot AR1936 erupted, producing a strong M9-class solar flare

This eruption follows close on the heels of an almost-equally strong M6-category explosion on New Year's Eve.

Neither of the "New Year's Flares" so far have been very geoeffective. AR1936 is approaching the sun's western limb so it is not directly facing our planet. Nevertheless, CMEs produced by these explosions might deliver glancing blows to Earth's magnetic field later this week, possibly sparking geomagnetic storms. We'll find out more about this possibility when coronagraph data from SOHO and STEREO reach Earth.

Space Weather

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Just the two of us

Thursday 2nd January 2014

Pedro, ON7WP/C5WP, announced on that he and Andre, ON7YK/C5YK are, or will be, the only two permanent licensed hams in The Gambia for 2014 (as of now).

Pedro will be active between January 11-15th, from the village Buntu (where he does charity care), and has set up his permanent base station (Kenwood TRC-80 Bush Radio and a brand new 5 band Spiderbeam).

He says: "Additionally, I will put up some traveling wave V-beam antennas to USA and EU. We will also try some low band activity, but due to poor soil conductivity I expect not too much apart from extremely low noise levels (closest electricity wall outlet is 80 km away).

"Between January 16-22nd, we will move to the Kololi area where we will try some serious Low Band stuff based on a sea mounted vertical, together with dipoles and the V-beam for the high bands."

See for QSL info.


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GB7OK Live Audio Feed

Thursday 2nd January 2014

Live audio is available on the web from the GB7OK and GB3OK amateur radio repeaters near London

The feed gives priority to GB7OK (2 metre D-Star), reverting to GB3OK (70 cms analog FM with Echolink) if there is no activity on the D-Star repeater.

The repeaters are usually at their busiest between 07:30 to 09:30 and 16:00 to 18:00 (London Time) when the most regular users are commuting to and from work, although there is often other activity during the rest of the day, especially with Echolink on GB3OK node 280040.

Listen to the audio feed at

GB3OK node 280040 Echolink

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The UKAC 2013 Contest Results

Wednesday 1st January 2014

The UKAC series of Tuesday night contests continued to be increasingly popular in 2013.

Members of 110 different UK clubs (including some dedicated contest groups) took part across a range of VHF frequency bands and while the number of clubs making an entry was down by 3 on 2012 .. the number of individual stations increased from 532 to 574.

As many of you will know, our club has been active in the weekly Tuesday evening contests and I thought you might like to see the results !

Out of 110 club entries .. Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club came 10th !!  which is an excellent placing and the hope is that even more members will join in and we will do even better in 2014 !!

A BIG 'Well Done' to Denis G3UVR, Frank G8REQ, Chris M1EEV, Simon G6XHF, Daniel M6CUL, Tom G4BKF, Andy M6MEQ and David G3UFO who have all contributed to the excellent club result.

The club also owes a big Thank You to both Denis G3UVR and Frank G8REQ for their encouragement to members to get involved in this event, Denis himself came 13th overall and Frank 23rd overall out of almost 600 individual stations that competed.

Just the top 20 club results are shown here:-

Club Scores
1 Travelling Wave CG 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 29 5029
2 Bolton Wireless Club 494 553 602 749 769 1000 4167
3 Spalding & DARS 637 503 518 600 747 152 3157
4 Camb-Hams 355 366 358 355 313 107 1854
5 Trowbridge & DARC 252 38 425 231 187 467 1600
6 Harwell ARS 141 194 239 45 447 480 1546
7 RAF Waddington ARC 431 228 276 314 166   1415
8 Tall Trees CG 512 127 218 242 33   1132
9 Ossett ARO 331 216 163 169 197   1076
10 Wirral & DARC 205 147 153 203 272 74 1054
11 Northern Fells CG 6 309 138 85 283 96 917
12 Chorley & DARS 359 119 169 224 16   887
13 Cheltenham ARA 110 3 61 81 154 354 763
14 Milton Keynes ARS 196 111 104 151 151   713
15 Wythall RC 216 251 125 95     687
16 Chesham & DARS 181 120 194 145 12   652
17 Medway ARTS 132   140 178 65   515
18 Worksop ARS 130 36 121 135 74   496
19 Telford & DARS 82 159 60 44 26 68 439
20 Cray Valley RS 89 109 91 145     434

You can see the full list or check the WADARC weekly performance at:-

Anyone familiar with the results of recent years will know that the club competition has been dominated by the Bolton Wireless Club, usually winning all 6 qualifying events by some margin. It was apparent early in 2013 that they would face a real challenge to remain at the top of the table this year. After a few months it looked like the Travelling Wave CG might be able to pull off the seemingly impossible and take 1st place from BWC. The final results show that the Travelling Wave CG has won 5 of the 6 events to win the BWC trophy. Congratulations to all their team members. It’s worth noting that the group were down in 38th position in 2011. The Bolton Wireless Club is in 2nd place, winning the overall SHF events. Last year’s runners up, Spalding & DARC are in 3rd place.

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New GB2RS News Manager

Wednesday 1st January 2014

On January 1st, 2014, Ken Hatton G3VBA becomes GB2RS news manager, taking over from Gordon Adams G3LEQ.

Gordon has been the GB2RS news manager for the past 35 years.

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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:-