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


Ham radio satellite launch from Vandenberg

Monday 30th September 2013

Two satellites, DANDE and CUSat, carrying amateur radio payloads were launched on Sunday, September 29

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base marks several firsts for the commercial space transportation company, including the maiden launch of an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 rocket with stretched fuel tanks, more powerful engines and a 5.2-meter payload fairing to enshroud satellites.

It is also the first SpaceX mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base, a launch site on California’s Central Coast, where engineers modified an existing facility used by the U.S. Air Force Titan 4 rocket to be the West Coast home of the Falcon 9.

Canada’s Cassiope space weather research and communications demonstration satellite is riding the Falcon 9 rocket into an elliptical near-polar orbit at an altitude of between 325 km and 1500 km. Secondary passengers aboard include POPACS, DANDE and CUSat.


The second P in POPACS (Polar Orbiting Passive Atmospheric Calibration Spheres) stands for Passive, meaning that the three spheres do not carry radios on board. They are simple, polished ten-cm-diameter hollow Aluminum spheres, weighing 1kg, 1.5 kg and 2 kg, respectively, that will be radar tracked by the Space Surveillance Network of the U.S. Strategic Command and optically tracked by an international network of students with Go To telescopes.

The purpose of the mission is to measure the way in which the total density of Earth’s upper atmosphere above 325 km varies in response to solar stimuli during the descending phase of Solar Cycle 24 and all of Solar Cycle 25.  The spheres’ expected lifetimes, after deployment into the initial 325 km x 1500 km 80 degree orbit that they will hopefully soon share with DANDE and CUSat, are 10, 12.5 and 15 years, depending, of course on solar activity.


DANDE stands for “Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer.” Measuring drag and neutral particles in the lower atmosphere between 325-400 kilometers, DANDE will be measuring real time density, quantifying variations in altitude and over time, as well as providing in-situ model calibration data. The satellite is a low-cost density, wind, and composition measuring instruments that will provide data for the calibration and validation of operational models and improve our understanding of the thermosphere. Weighing approximately 45 kg, DANDE is classified as a nano-satellite that is about 18 inches in diameter.

The Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) has housed the project for approximately 7 years, in which about 150 students have been a part of the project through initial concept and design, to the current team of mission operators. There are two instruments on board which allow DANDE to make in-situ measurements rather than being passive or only carrying accelerometers. The subsystem ACC (Accelerometers) contains 6 accelerometer heads arranged in a circle which were built in-house. The NMS subsystem (Neutral Mass Spectrometer) also known as Wind and Temperature Spectrometer will survey the variety and quantity of numerous neutral particles in the Thermosphere. This data will be particularly interesting during periods of high solar activity do to atmospheric effects seen at these times in the polar regions of Earth.

DANDE Telemetry System Information:
Beacon Downlink Frequency: 436.75 MHz FM
Callsign: dandecosgc
Data Rate: 9600 baud
Modulation: FSK
Transmit Interval: every 15 seconds
RF Power Output: 0.75 W
Antenna Polarization: linear


DANDE Beacon Portal


CUSat is a multi-year effort to design, build, and launch an autonomous in-orbit inspection satellite system. The satellite will allow us test the accuracy and viability of the carrier-phase differential GPS (CDGPS) algorithm. We hope to prove the algorithm accurate to less than 10 cm  by comparing the CDGPS navigation solution to the known distance between GPS antennas. CUSat will use this relative GPS information to help determine and control its attitude. This is the first step towards having a multi-satellite system use the CDGPS algorithm to aid in autonomous inspection. CUSat is the winner of the University Nanosat-4 Program which aims to educate the future aerospace workforce and develop new space technologies.

CUSat Telemetry Information:
Beacon Downlink Frequency: 437.405 MHz FM
Callsign: BOTTOM
Data Rate: 1200 baud
Modulation: AFSK
Transmit Interval: every 1 minute
RF Power Output: 2.2 W
Antenna Polarization: circular


CUSat docs

CUSat Pulse Plasma Thruster Satellites Video

DANDE and CUSat signals received by Dmitry Pashkov UB4UAD

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Report into lethal Arizona fire identifies radio problems

Monday 30th September 2013

BBC News reports that an investigation into the deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona on 30 June has found that inadequate communication played a role in their fate.

The dead men, members of an elite unit called the Granite Mountain Hotshots, were killed as they battled a wildfire near the town of Yarnell.

The report authors describe radio communications as "challenging throughout the incident".

Watch the BBC News video report

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Jail gets phone jamming technology

Sunday 29th September 2013

Lithgow jail west of Sydney is now trialling Australia's first authorised trial of technology that will stop inmates making calls from smuggled mobile phones.

While illegal to have a mobile phone inside a jail, some 239 were found last year in New South Wales.

After approval from the Australian Communications and Media Authority a tender was called resulting in dozens of antennas installed into prison cell blocks.

The trial is being closely watched to ensure the jamming does not cause interference to mobile phone use outside the jail.

Depending on its success jamming could become a tool in other maximum security prisons.

Mobile phone jamming is already used in the US, Bermuda, New Zealand and the Cayman Islands, but possession and use of jammers is outlawed in Australia.

Jim Linton VK3PC
WIA News

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The question is: .... "Explain amateur radio ?"

Sunday 29th September 2013

Seems to be a pretty simple question, but think about it, do you have the right answer or answers?

Dare say most of us would not be able to succinctly give an answer. That is, without saying what we did, and even a few who would slip into jargon and ham-lingo to give some sort of a reply.

As every good salesperson learns it is essential to know about the product or service on offer to have a hope of clinching a deal with a customer. So it should be with amateur radio, if we are to be successful in recruiting new people into our ranks. Unless we have the right messages and can communicate them, true success is not realised.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) in the lead-up to its PR4AmateurRadio Expo in April will help clubs or groups maximise their involvement in this publicity drive.

And as an 'explain amateur radio" Ed VK2JI says it's time to "Wake up and smell the roses!" it's a kind of Ham Radio 101 primer.

How often do we hear each other saying this or that was good "Back in the day" ?

Well I've been around the traps a few times and agree the 70's and 80's were great for Amateur Radio and its importance in the world. But STOP and take a look around. You may not have realised it but it's GREAT to be in Amateur Radio again.

With regular contacts to the space station

With Amateur Radio providing an essential service in many, many disaster situations around the world.

With great contests and DXpeditions in many cases to places not possible before.

With new construction kits letting even a newcomer build a complete stable transceiver in a few nights work.

With portable operation being at its highest for a long time with Summit and Park activation award schemes.

With the use of QRP both portable and with new data modes that were never around "Back in the day" allowing communications below the noise level.

With Digital and Analogue repeaters allowing a handy talkie to talk around the world.

With tracking and data comms via APRS.

With balloon launches to the outer layers of the Earth's atmosphere.

We are seeking more young people to join our fantastic hobby - we now have so many more things to offer them than we had "Back in the day".

So PLEASE the next time someone says to you - "So what's this ham radio thing about" Don't say "well it used to be good but now it's just a bunch of us old folk chatting to each other" - while that's important there are so, so, many other facets to the hobby today that simply didn't exist years ago.


The Amateur Radio hobby is BACK IN BLOOM and leading technology as always.

Source WIA News

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High altitude Ham Radio balloon to study comets

Sunday 29th September 2013

An amateur radio balloon operating on 145.765 MHz will be launched on Sunday from Bangalore, India

The National Institute of Amateur Radio, Hyderabad with Dhruva Space, India's first small satellite start-up, is supporting the Indian Institute of Astrophysics with its high altitude balloon campaign to study the comet ISON.

The Helium filled balloon plans to launch on September 29, 2013 in the early morning from the Hoskote campus of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore.

The payload will carry a 145.765 MHz APRS packet radio transmitter and a GPS GSM tracker, both of these are extremely important in keeping track of the balloon in flight, as it rises up to 40 km reaching the upper stratosphere. NIAR are extensively involved in the efforts of tracing and safely recovery of the payload.

On the afternoon of September 29 there will be a presentation given on "Amateur Radio For High Altitude Ballooning” by Dhruva Space.
Mr S.Ram Mohan, VU2MYH, Director, National Institute of Amateur Radio will speak on APRS technologies for tracking.

National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR)

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School to launch 434 MHz balloon

Saturday 28th September 2013

Wirral Grammar School for Girls hope to launch a 434 MHz balloon on Wednesday from Middleton Hill near Welshpool

The launch is planned for 1000 UT on Wednesday, October 2.

The payload will consist of a camera and the following trackers, lifted by a 1200g Hwoyee:

WGGS1 : 50 baud 7n2 ASCII RTTY on 434.3 MHz, 10 mW, 470 Hz shift
WGGS1-B : 50 baud 7n2 ASCII RTTY on 869.8 MHz, 5 mW, 320 Hz shift

The 869.8 MHz tracker is intended as a spare/experiment, it's antenna is a dipole attached to the side of the payload, so may not give a very uniform radiation pattern from it. Polarisation is vertical.

Wirral Grammar School for Girls

Real-time balloon tracker

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi

To get details of upcoming UK balloon launches subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

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Restored Bletchley Park Enigma code hut opens

Saturday 28th September 2013

One of the first huts to house the Enigma code breaking device at Bletchley Park has reopened after restoration.

Hut 11 at the Buckinghamshire museum housed the large electro-mechanical Bombe devices, which decrypted German military messages during World War II.

The restoration work, including a new exhibition, was funded by a £250,000 legacy from a veteran.

The hut will also house the museum's rebuilt Bombe machine and if you are travelling down that way it would be well worth a visit.

Read the article on the BBC website :-

Thanks to Simon G6XHF for sending me details of the article.

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IARU Amateur Radio Spectrum Requirements

Saturday 28th September 2013

Following the annual meeting of the Administrative Council (AC) of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) a revised spectrum requirement documents is available

At 50 MHz the document re-iterates the need for a harmonized allocation for the Amateur-Satellite Service to bridge the gap between 28 MHz and 144 MHz.

For the Amateur-Satellite Service 435-438 MHz allocation the IARU say it is desirable to study expansion of the band.

Retention of the Amateur-Satellite Service 1260-1270 MHz is sought and deletion of the "Earth-to-Space only" restriction. WRC-2000 allocated the band 1240-1300 MHz to the radiodetermination-satellite service for space-to-space use. In addition, WRC-2000 allocated the band 1260-1300 MHz to the radiodetermination-satellite service for space-to-Earth use such as for the European Galileo positioning system. These actions do not change the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Service allocations but present new sharing situations and potential operating restrictions.

Substitute spectrum for the Amateur Satellite Service allocation at 2400-2450 MHz which is restricted to the ISM segment, is sought.

Regarding the aim of acheiving a global Amateur-Satellite Service allocation at 3400-3410 MHz  the IARU say: WRC-07 identified the band 3400-3500 MHz for IMT applications in certain countries, which poses an additional difficulty for the Amateur Services in achieving improvement in the band 3400-3410 MHz with respect to upgrading the allocation or extending the allocation to Region 1 [Europe and Africa].

The IARU do not seek any changes to the split Amateur-Satellite Service allocations at 5 GHz.

Spectrum Requirements for the Amateur and Amateur-satellite Services

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Saturday 28th September 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Friday, 20th September, through Friday, 27th September there were 230 countries active.

Countries available:

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

A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C2, C3, C6, CE, CE0Y, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D6, DL, DU, E5/s, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EL, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EX, EY, EZ, F, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FM, FO, FP, FR, FS, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HC8, HH, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, J6, 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, OJ0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PY, PZ, S5, S7, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T5, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TR, TT, TU, TZ, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VK9L, VK9N, VP2E, VP2V, VP6, VP8,
VP8/h, VP9, VR, VU, XE, XU, XX9, XZ, YA, YB, YI, YJ, YK, YL, YN, YO, YS,
YU, YV, Z2, 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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Video streaming of National Hamfest

Friday 27th September 2013

There will be live streaming of the UK National Hamfest in Newark today (Friday) and tomorrow, Saturday, September 27-28, 2013

GX3RCM video stream on BATC website

The video stream is also at

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Mellish Reef DXpedition 2014

Thursday 26th September 2013

Members of the The Perseverance DX Group posted the following press release about plans to activate Mellish Reef as VK9MT in 2014:

"After their successful operation from Campbell Island in December 2012, six members of the ZL9HR team, and additional operators, are today announcing their intention to activate Mellish Reef in early 2014.

Mellish Reef is located in the Coral Sea, approximately 1100km north-east of Brisbane, Australia. Currently number 24 on ClubLog's Most Wanted List, Mellish Reef was last activated in 2009. An international team will operate for 12 days, using 6 stations with linear amplifiers and vertical antennas.

Discussions are underway with the appropriate authorities and potential transport suppliers. Additional information will be available on the team's soon to be activated web site after the documentation is finalized.

Currently signed up for the project are: Pista HA5AO, Dave K3EL, Glenn KE4KY, Jacky ZL3CW, George HA5UK, Gene K5GS and Les W2LK.

As the project progresses we will announce additional operators and details. Please direct questions to: "


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Ham Radio: A Hacker's Paradise

Thursday 26th September 2013

The weekly electronics publication EE Times carries a short report on amateur radio

Read the EE Times post at

The post highlights an article on Hack a Day written by Bill Meara M0HBR/N2CQR who is well known for his Soldersmoke Podcasts.

Read the Hack a Day article at


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Ofcom publishes Digital Radio Report 2013

Thursday 26th September 2013

Ofcom has just published its Digital Radio Report for 2013.

As part of its Digital Radio Action Plan, the Government asked Ofcom to report annually on the availability and take-up of digital radio services.

This year’s report shows that the BBC’s national digital audio broadcasting (DAB) multiplex now covers 94.4% of homes, while the national commercial digital multiplex covers 89.5%. Local DAB multiplexes are estimated to cover 71.7% of households.

Digital radio listening

In the 12 months to the end of June 2013, over a third (33.9%) of all radio listening hours was to digital radio, across various platforms such as DAB, digital TV and the internet or ‘apps’. This is an 11.2 percentage point increase on the same period in 2010 and a 4.4 percentage point increase year on year.

Of stations that are only available through digital platforms, four had at least one million listeners in an average week in the 12 months to Q2 2013.

BBC 6 Music had the largest number of listeners at 1.74 million; followed by BBC Radio 4 Extra, which reached 1.66 million listeners; and 1Xtra from the BBC, which reached 1.1 million listeners. Commercial radio station Absolute 80s increased its reach by 16.7% to 1.01 million in the year to June 2013.

Listening online and through ‘apps’

DAB digital radio sets were the most widely-used means of listening to digital radio, accounting for 64.9% of all digital listening hours in the year to the end of June 2013.

The share of digital listening accounted for by online and ‘apps’ grew by 1.6 percentage points to 14.9%, while the proportion accounted for by digital TV fell slightly (down by 0.6 percentage points) to 15% year on year.

DAB radio sets sold

Over a third (33.4%) of all radio sets sold in the year to the end of June 2013 included a DAB tuner, compared to 28.7% a year earlier.

A total of 5.6 million radio sets were sold in this period, a fall of 14.3% year on year.

Sales of DAB sets remained steady (1.9 million in 2012 and 2013) while sales of analogue sets fell by one million units year on year to 3.7 million.

The proportion of people that claimed to have a DAB digital radio set at home was 45.7% at the end of June 2013, an increase of 4 percentage points year on year. Ownership of digital sets varies across the UK, ranging from 54.4% in Surrey to 18.1% in the Border region.

Digital radios in new cars

Almost four in ten (38.3%) of new cars are now fitted with DAB as standard, an increase of almost a third on the proportion in Q2 2012.

The full Digital Radio Report 2013 is available here.

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CCW SDR-4+ receiver frequency extended to 70.5 MHz

Thursday 26th September 2013

As a result of recent development work on the Cross Country Wireless Sentry SDR transceiver, the latest batch of SDR-4+ receivers being built for the RSGB National Hamfest this coming Friday and Saturday have the upper limit of frequency coverage extended to 70.5 MHz.

This allows the SDR-4+ receiver to cover the 4m amateur band. It also allows the receiver to be used as an IF panadaptor with many modern amateur radio transceivers.

We will also offer an upgrade to extend frequency coverage to 70.5 MHz for all existing SDR-4 and SDR-4+ receivers after the National Hamfest.

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Ofcom: Tackling Pirate Radio

Thursday 26th September 2013

The UK communications regulator Ofcom have published information about tackling pirate radio

Although Ofcom have occasionally raided pirate stations operating in the 88-108 MHz band, such enforcement actions have been few and far between.

After the 2008/9 financial year, Ofcom stopped publishing their Prosecution/Formal Warning Statistics and subsequently removed all prosecution statistics from their website, perhaps to hide the fact that they no longer published them. It may be speculated the reason the statistics no longer appeared was because Ofcom had stopped undertaking enforcement action.

Currently in London there are over 25 pirate stations operating in the 88-108 MHz band. Many operate 24/7 so are not exactly difficult for Ofcom to locate if they wished.

In the Pirate Radio page Ofcom point out that they have issued Community Radio licences to former pirate radio stations such as Rinse FM and Kane FM. The inference that may be taken is Ofcom would like pirate radio stations to apply for community radio licences.

Read Ofcom's pirate radio page at

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Amateur rockets in the press

Sunday 22nd September 2013

The Guardian newspaper reports on International Rocket Week which took place in August.

Amateur rockets typically send back telemetry data using 434 MHz transmitters and their signals can be received using amateur radio rigs.

John Crace writes in the newspaper about how once a year, enthusiasts converge on a wet and windy moor in Scotland to launch homemade rockets that can reach heights of 15,000 feet. It's quite a blast.

Read his story at

International Rocket Week

United Kingdom Rocketry Association (UKRA)

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Radio hams create worldwide success

Sunday 22nd September 2013

Cheshire News reports a Stockton Heath radio amateur has been putting technology he created many years ago to good use

The newspaper says that Colin Horrabin G3SBI, aged 72, is a member of Warrington Amateur Radio Club (WARC) and with the help of Dave Roberts G8KBB, aged 54, also from Stockton Heath and George Fare G3OGQ, aged 83, from Latchford, released a new radio HF7070, which is now used by more than 800 enthusiasts worldwide.

Colin made use of components he once developed 20 years ago while working at the Daresbury Laboratory.

Read the full story at

Warrington Amateur Radio Club (WARC)

ARRL QEX - The HF7070 HF/LF Communications Receiver Prototype

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Summits On The Air

Sunday 22nd September 2013

Summits On The Air or SOTA is 10.

To celebrate this and to enable more South African radio amateurs to participate, a few members of the Secunda Amateur Radio Club will try and make it easier for you.

Sid, ZS5AYC, Adele, ZS5APT, Christo, ZR6LJK, and Lucas, ZS6ACT, intend to activate some of the summits in the Drakensberg area, SOTA reference ZS/KN-010, ZS/KN-011 and ZS/KN-032 between Saturday 21 September and Sunday 22 September.

They will be active from ±9:30 on 7,090 and 14,165 MHz. In the mean time Willie, ZS6WBT, will try to activate Magaliesberg, ZS/NW-001.

Please give them a contact and earn for yourself also a few points.
Visit for more information.

SOTA is an international program that encourages amateur radio operation from the summits of hills and mountains. Activators are people who transmit from the summits and chasers are those who contact the activators. SWL's can also participate by logging the QSO's between activators and chasers. For each of the 3 groups there are guidelines and awards.

There are more than 300 qualifying summits in the RSA. Every summit represent a certain number of points. Earn your points by logging your contacts at

More information can be found at and the RSA specific information at or contact Lucas at 082 314 3265 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 082 314 3265 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting.


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IMW - International Museums Weekend

Saturday 21st September 2013

For well over a decade now, there has been an extremely popular and extremely well supported annual amateur radio special event, by the name of the International Museums Weekend (IMW).

The majority of those taking part in the event have been in the United Kingdom, but with a few radio amateurs taking part from the rest of the world. For the 2014 IMW, the members of the IMW administration team are hoping to make the event a truly in international one, with great deal more participation from beyond the UK's borders.

The basic idea of the event is to set up and operate an amateur radio special event station, from absolutely any type of location which might be broadly classified as a museum.

In the UK we have had stations set up in castles, preserved WW2 warships, air museums, railway museums, radio museums, preserved jails, agricultural museums and even doll museums - in fact the event has involved over 270 different museums over the years.
The possibilities of finding a suitable venue are almost without limit.

The sites have been operated by teams from clubs or just a lone operator. Irrespective of the location, those taking part have always had a great time and the operators were generally invited back for the following years by the museum’s curator, pleased with the extra visitors and publicity the event has generated.

Apart from the enjoyment for the operators the event is intended to help spread the word for amateur radio, in some of the regularly visited locations by members of the public - the museums.

The 2014 IMW will take place on the two weekends of the 14th/15th and 21st/22nd June.

More details about the event, its history and how to register to take part can be found at

There is absolutely no cost involved for taking part, nor is there any cost for the range of IMW Awards.


Harry M1BYT

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Visually tune an HF antenna

Saturday 21st September 2013

Hack a Day report on how to visually tune your HF antenna using an oscilloscope and signal generator

Tod Harrison N5VEH writes on Hack a Day:

Lots of readers are into toying around with RF and ham radios. One thing that is always of concern is tuning the antenna. New equipment is never cheap, so whenever another option comes along that uses existing test gear it gets our attention. Alan Wolke W2AEW covers a process he uses to tune his HF antenna using a signal generator and oscilloscope.

The process is more of a teaching aid than a practical replacement for commercial equipment mostly because proper signal generators and oscilloscopes are large items and sometimes not available or affordable.

Watch the video and read the full story at

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VK amateurs win reprieve for 2300-2302 MHz

Friday 20th September 2013

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) reports that VK amateurs may win a reprieve for the 2300-2302 MHz amateur band, which is under threat from spectrum licensing.

In February 2013, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA - Australia's equivalent to Ofcom) released a discussion paper proposing to withdraw the 2300-2302 MHz amateur allocation so that 2300-2400 MHz could be re-allocated for Spectrum Licensing.

The WIA made a submission in response to the discussion paper, seeking to have a 150 kHz segment, from 2300-2300.15 MHz, retained for the amateur service on at least a co-primary basis.

The ACMA has posted a report on its website (September 17th) that it received 124 submissions in response to the discussion paper, from which an overwhelming number objected to the ACMA’s proposal.

A staggering 93% of submissions disagreed with the ACMA’s proposal, and of those, 30% indicated support for the position advocated by the WIA. Many submissions of the 124 sent to the ACMA were from individuals.

The ACMA has advised that, after considering the information provided in the submissions, its view is that the amateur service would be unable to retain co-primary status if 2300-2400 MHz was spectrum licensed.

However, the ACMA goes on to say that it will work closely with the WIA to “test whether a coexistence licensing arrangement might be developed under section 138 of the Radiocommunications Act.”
Section 138 provides for a class licence to be issued within spectrum-licensed bands where it would not result in unacceptable levels of interference to equipment operated under the spectrum licence.

The WIA says that it looks forward to working with the ACMA to achieve a positive outcome for the 2300-2302 MHz band in Australia.


Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

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FCC dismisses 'Encryption' petition

Friday 20th September 2013

The FCC has dismissed a Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11699) from a Massachusetts ham, that sought to amend the Part 97 Amateur Service rules to permit the encryption of certain amateur communications during emergency operations or related training exercises.

The FCC put the petition filed by Don Rolph, AB1PH, of East Walpole on public notice in June. Rolph requested an additional exception to §97.113, which currently prohibits "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning," but the FCC said in a September 18 Order that it's not persuaded his petition provides sufficient reasons to support the change.

The September 18 Order can be found in PDF format on the web at,

"[W]e conclude that the record does not support Mr Rolph's assertion that the prohibition on encrypted amateur communications is impairing the ability of the Amateur Radio community to provide effective support to public safety agencies during emergencies," the FCC said.

The FCC said it received more than 300 comments on Rolph's petition, and those opposing the change outnumbered supporters two to one.

In his petition Rolph suggested excepting "intercommunications when participating in emergency services operations or related training exercises which may involve information covered by HIPAA, medical privacy requirements, or other sensitive data, such as logistical information concerning medical supplies, personnel movement, other relief supplies or any other data designated by Federal authorities managing relief or training efforts."

The ARRL had called on the FCC to deny Rolph's petition. "While Mr Rolph has concisely stated his argument, it is ARRL's considered view that there is no factual or legal basis for the assumption that encryption of necessary in order to continue and enhance the utility of Amateur Radio emergency and disaster relief communications," the League said in its comments filed July 8 with the FCC.

The ARRL also turned away Rolph's assertion that the current prohibition in §97.113 "has impacted the relationship of Amateur Radio volunteers and served agencies and significantly limited the effectiveness of amateurs in supporting emergency communications."

In denying the petition, the FCC concluded, "Thus, while the proposal could advance one purpose of the Amateur Radio Service - value to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications - it would undermine other characteristics and purposes of the service. Therefore, we agree with the comments that say, in various ways, that amending the rules to allow encryption to obscure the meaning of messages transmitted during emergency services operations and related training exercises would not improve or enhance the operation of Amateur Service stations or otherwise be in the public interest."

In its comments in the proceeding, the ARRL also said that should it become necessary in the future for radio amateurs to protect the privacy of individuals whose medical data may be transmitted by Amateur Radio during or after an emergency or disaster, "the Commission may be asked to revisit this matter."

Source: ARRL

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A tour of the Woofferton transmitting station

Thursday 19th September 2013

A seven-part video tour of the Woofferton transmitting station, presented by senior transmitter engineer Dave Porter G4OYX, has been posted to YouTube.

More parts are to follow.

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The new-look Foundation Certificate

Thursday 19th September 2013

Essex Ham reports on the new-look amateur radio Foundation certificates now being issued

See the story at

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AmateurLogic.TV 58: 2013 Huntsville Hamfest

Wednesday 18th September 2013

George, Tommy and Wayne’s adventure at the Huntsville Hamfest.

We had a great time visiting with old and new friends and seeing new products. Peter has some footage from the 2013 DATV QSO Party.

An update on our 8th Anniversary Contest and more.

1:08:39 of Amateur Radio Entertainment


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The Voice of Greece Avlis shortwave transmitter site may be scrapped

Wednesday 18th September 2013

The SWLing Post report that thirty nine shortwave antennas located at the Voice of Greece Avlis transmitter site may soon be sold as scrap metal.

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The Amsterdam Island DXpedition

Tuesday 17th September 2013

The Amsterdam Island DXpedition team's progress continues unabated.

Essentially all the team's equipment is now in hand and at the Atlanta staging area or undergoing final testing in preparation for shipment to Atlanta. Gear will soon be sorted into contents bound for the Mataf operating location and the Antonelli operating location (see our website page)

There will be no guess work about what piece of equipment goes to which site when we land. Efficiency means more time on the air and more QSO's.

Bob, N2OO, has been working on our maritime mobile operation to provide QSO's with some rare grids between Australia and Amsterdam Island. Arnie, N6HC, is our team doctor and has finalized his medical resources. Jerry, WB9Z, has been hard at work with his team cutting radials and coax, thousands of feet of each, but the job is now done. Bob, K4UEE, our chief financial officer has been watching our income and expenses and trying to be as frugal as possible without compromising our ability to generate lots of QSO's.

Craig, K9CT, has been putting our K3's and bandpass filters through extensive testing and has worked with Neil/VA7DX, Gregg/W6IZT, and George/N4GRN on our network and logging protocol.

Erling/LA6VM and Andy/UA3AB have been working hard to inform Europeans of our progress and peak their interest, while VE7CT beats the drum in Canada.

Michel, FM5CD, has worked closely with the French authorities, answering their questions and Nodir, EY8MM, has focused on our low band capabilities. Jorge, HK1R, has worked hard to generate interest in South America.

The berth and fuel for our ship has been reserved in Fremantle, Australia and our New Zealand customs agent has been retained. We've submitted a 'shopping list' to our friends in New Zealand and Australia; they will purchase items for us that will come aboard in either Tauranga or Fremantle.

Finally, a major milestone occurred recently – something that says, 'There is no turning back now'. We made our initial payment for the charter of our ship, the 'MV Braveheart'. This amounted to $175,000 (NZD) (app. £92,000)

Our team members are now fully vested (all in) financially. Our next payment is due in December, so like all major DXpeditions of this magnitude, we will feel the cash flow crunch shortly.  We are hoping you can support us up front when we need the money and help us make Amsterdam a memorable DXpedition. If you've supported us, we greatly appreciate it. If you have not yet done so, please consider helping us now. All the team members will sleep a little better knowing you have our back..

Ralph K0IR


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New UK 76GHz distance record

Monday 16th September 2013

A new distance record of 102km was achieved on 76GHz Saturday 14th September 2013, a contact between Batcombe Hill, Dorset (IO80RT59) and Eglwysilan Mountain, Gwent (IO81IO36). This is also believed to be the first 76GHz contact between Wales and England.

Operating on three mm-bands, 24, 47 and 76GHz, were Chris Towns G8BKE and John Hazell G8ACE at Batcombe Hill and also on the three bands at Eglwysilan was Ian Lamb GW8KQW, and with the valuable assistance from Keith Winnard GW3TKH who was also operational on 24GHz.

All three bands were worked using NBFM with full duplex operation on 76GHz between GW8KQW and G8ACE with one way FM between G8BKE and G8KQW. Signals on 76GHz were exchanged for over two hours with a very gradual increase in average signal strength after some QSB initially.

Both Tx and Rx were locked using RDDS PLLs at G8ACE and the GW8KQW Tx RDDS1 locked. This was the first time RDDS locking was used at both ends and meant the 76GHz signal was acquired within seconds due to the highly accurate frequency control therefore no tuning required. References used for the PLLs were 10MHz double oven OCXOs which are readily available on ebay.

It has been very difficult to improve on the previous record distances primarily due to the earth being curved. So far if the path is not optical then it doesn't work, none of this K=1.33 stuff on 76GHz with the relatively low power levels used.

This tremendous success is a result of continual innovation and systematic improvements and testing of the equipment built and used by the Wessex microwave enthusiasts with support from other microwave radio enthusiasts in UK and Germany.

By calculating the link budget and path loss of this path it was possible to predict what environmental conditions would potentially give sufficient margin for success. The 7 day weather forecasts (specifically the dew-point temperature) have been analyzed for several weeks whilst waiting for the optimum conditions to materialise.

We are indebted to Keith GW3TKH for the suggestion of this path which is LOS and for his assistance in guiding Ian G8KQW up the Welsh mountain, without Keith’s suggestion and support this would not have been possible.

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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 16th September 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 8th-September, through Sunday, 15th-September there were 220 countries active.

Countries available:

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

A2, A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C3, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, DL, DU, E5/s, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EL, EP, ER, ES, EU, EX, EY, EZ, F, FG, FH, FK, FM, FO, FP, FR, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HC8, HH, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, J6, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JX, JY,

K, KH0, KH2, KH6, KL, KP2, KP4, LA, LU, LX, LY, LZ, OA, OD, OE, OH,
OH0, OJ0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PJ5, PJ7, PY,
PY0F, PZ, S2, S5, SM, SP, ST, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T2, T5, T7, T8, TA, TF,
TG, TI, TJ, TK, TT, TU, TZ, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VK9N, VP2E, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9, VR, VU, XE, XT, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YJ, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z2, Z3, Z8, 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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The Register 434 MHz balloon launch

Sunday 15th September 2013

The Register's LOHAN team will be doing a test flight this Monday, September 16 about 1pm BST. There will be a total of 4 beacons, one sending SSDV images, plus a BATC video stream from the ground

Launch site is about 150 km West of Madrid in Spain. We would REALLY appreciate help tracking this one, so if you happen to be within range of the flight, or know anyone who is, or know how to contact Spanish hams, please do!!

All trackers will be sending telemetry via USB RTTY.  The tracker IDs and frequencies will be:

CHAV on 434.075 MHz
BUZZ on 434.200 MHz
ZURG on 434.250 MHz
SPEARS on 434.650 MHz

CHAV will be 300 baud 8 data bits, no parity, 2 stop bits, and will be sending Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) packets as well as telemetry.

All the others will be 50 baud, 7 data bits, 2 stop bits

CHAV images will go to

BATC stream at

Dave Akerman M6RPI

The Register - LOHAN

Real-time balloon tracking

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi

To get details of upcoming UK balloon launches subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

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'2013 Addenda' to the National Table of Frequency Allocations (NTFA) approved in Portugal

Sunday 15th September 2013

ANACOM, the Portuguese communications authority, has released on September 6th the ''2013 Addendum'' to the National Table of Frequency Allocations (NTFA).

In this addenda there are some important changes to its Annex 6. This annex defines the amateur radio frequency bands and their allocation status, as well as the conditions for their use by the different amateur radio license classes.

In summary, the changes include the allocation of the new 472 - 479 kHz band to the Amateur Service with secondary status, and the change to conditions for access to the 50 - 52 MHz and 1270 - 1300 MHz bands, affecting some license classes.

At the same time, ANACOM also approved the report for the public consultation process to which the following amateur radio organizations and individuals have responded:

- Associação de Radioamadores do Litoral Alentejano (ARLA)
- Rede dos Emissores Portugueses (REP)
- António Matias, Carlos Ferreira, Fernando Lopes, João Costa, Jorge Santos, José Nunes, Manuel Luís Nogueira, Mónica Marques, Nuno Lopes, Nuno Silva, Paulo Faria, Paulo Protásio, Paulo Santos, Pedro Correia, Pedro Ribeiro and Vasco Vieira.

Two other submissions have been received by the Authority after the deadline, and therefore were not considered:
- Tertúlia Radioamadorística Guglielmo Marconi (TRGM)
- Carlos Gomes.

For more details, the ''2013 Addendum'' to the National Table of Frequency Allocations (NTFA). is available on ANACOM website at:

(Annex 6 is in 20 and 21 page)


António Vilela CT1JHQ

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Colorado Flooding: Amateur Radio provides critical communication

Sunday 15th September 2013

ARRL reports that drones fitted with amateur TV cameras have been deployed by Boulder County

They say:

About five dozen Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers have deployed in and around flood-stricken counties of Colorado, providing critical communication for Red Cross shelters and state and local emergency operation centers. Recent heavy rains have caused veritable mountainside tsunamis that have caused rivers and streams to overflow their banks, ravaged roads and property and displaced an undetermined number of residents.

Boulder County has deployed miniature drone aircraft carrying Amateur TV cameras to survey the affected, more remote regions, for now to spot individuals who may need to be rescued. “We’re still in a search-and-rescue mode,” Ciaccia said, “not really in a damage-assessment mode.”

ARRL Colorado Section Manager Jack Ciaccia, WMØG said the drones — a fixed-wing aircraft and a hybrid gas/electric-powered helicopter — have been transmitting ATV video via UHF to the ground and simultaneously recording the video on a memory stick. The helicopter can remain in the air for more than 5 hours at a clip, recording images for officials at the EOC to evaluate. Ciaccia said Boulder County Emergency Coordinator Al Bishop, KØARK, owns Reference Technology, the company providing the drones.

Read the full ARRL story at

Further updates on Facebook at

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DXing with Weak Signals by Joe Taylor K1JT

Saturday 14th September 2013

Nobel prize winner and WSJT developer Joe Taylor K1JT (photo right) will be giving a presentation on DXing with Weak Signals at the RSGB Convention on Saturday, October 12, 2013

The RSGB’s Centenary Convention, sponsored by Martin Lynch & Sons, takes place over the weekend of October 11-12 at Horwood House, MK17 0PH just a few miles outside Milton Keynes.

Joe Taylor K1JT is known by many for his work on the WSPR weak signal propagation reporting software and WSJT used for passing short messages via moonbounce, meteor scatter and other low signal-to-noise ratio paths. It is also useful for extremely long distance contacts using very low power transmissions. Joe will be speaking on DXing with weak signals, which is a sufficiently broad title to allow an overview of both HF and EME related applications.

Read an ARRL article about Joe's software - Have a Great Time with JT9

RSGB Convention Schedule

RSGB Centenary Convention

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Australia's ham radio BLUEsat ready for launch

Saturday 14th September 2013

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has declared its undergraduate student amateur radio satellite project BLUEsat is complete and ready to be launched into space

As the official final green light came it was to have a stratospheric balloon test flight near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Talks continue on a space launch date.

BLUEsat, a 260mm cube weighing around 13 kilograms, will carry a flight computer with transmissions to include a beacon and amateur packet radio using the AX.25 protocol in a "mode J" VHF/UHF configuration.

Magnets will passively stabilise the satellite and align it with the Earth's magnetic field, and it will be controlled via a dedicated communications groundstation VK2UNS at UNSW is equipped with a Yaesu FT-847 satellite transceiver.

It is hoped BLUEsat will be placed in circular orbit at an altitude of around 750 km that will take it over the poles. At this altitude, the satellite will travel around the Earth at a rate of around once every 90 minutes.

Once in orbit BLUEsat will be a digital amateur radio satellite, which means that voice and data files can be uploaded to it by any amateur radio operator in the world over which the satellite passes.

Students from UNSW will continue to be the primary operators of the satellite while it is in orbit and continue the educational focus throughout the full satellite lifecycle.

Through sponsors helping to pay the bills the student-led project has given a space experience that includes VK2UNS the ground control station.


Basic Low Earth Orbit UNSW Experimental Satellite (BLUEsat) project

January 2012 - Australian BLUEsat LEO undergoes tests

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Ofcom to manage release of 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum

Saturday 14th September 2013

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it will be handing the management of its sale of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands to Ofcom

Ofcom say: Formerly used by the MoD for military purposes, this spectrum includes 40 MHz located in the 2.3 GHz band and another 150 MHz above 3.4 GHz. These bands are in the process of being harmonised across Europe for mobile broadband; and are therefore likely to be used for 4G services.

Having already completed a number of successful spectrum releases, including the recent 4G auction, Ofcom has significant experience and expertise in this area and is well positioned to manage the process. 

A document seeking expressions of interest from potential users of this spectrum will be published shortly at

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14 MHz beacon on radio ham's trans-Atlantic balloon flight

Friday 13th September 2013

Radio amateur Jonathan Trappe KJ4GQV is attempting to cross the Atlantic in a cluster balloon carrying beacons on 14.0956 MHz and 144.390 MHz

Jonathan took to the air at around 1200 UT on Thursday, September 12, 2013 from Caribou in Maine.

The 14.0956 MHz beacon is just above the WSPR frequency (approx 1880 Hz in the waterfall display) and runs 110 Baud ASCII RTTY, 8-bits, no parity, 1 stop bit with the callsign NG0X.

The multi-mode transmitter will transmit at 10 minute intervals at: 00, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 minutes.

APRS on 144.390 MHz FM will be transmitted near the US/Canada using the callsign KJ4GQV.

A Real-Time Track of NG0X on 14.0956 should be available at

USA APRS track is now available at!mt=roadmap&z=13&call=

Further information at

See updates on Facebook at

Jonathan Trappe update

Jonathan took to the air at around 1200 UT on Thursday, September 12, 2013 from Caribou in Maine, but his flight came to a premature end when he had to land in Newfoundland reportedly near Blow Me Down Provincial Park.

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Paccar Scout Camp

Friday 13th September 2013

GB0XPL will go on the air on Friday for three days from Paccar Scout Camp north of Slough for the Explode 2013 Scout Camp.

Operation will be on 80 to 10m, 6m, 4m, 2m and 70cm

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Ham Video - EST and Simulations

Thursday 12th September 2013

Ham Video Commissioning preparation is progressing.

An EST (Experiment Sequence Test) has been performed 28-29 August and Simulations tests were done 5-6 September 2013.

The EST consisted of a series of tests, mainly of the ground segment.

For the Commissioning, the VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) station of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), located near Matera, southern Italy, will be used for receiving the DATV signals from the ISS.

For the EST, the IK1SLD ground station, situated at Casale Monferrato, northern Italy was used. IK1SLD is one of the ARISS telebridge stations, fully equiped for VHF and UHF. It was recently upgraded for S-band with a 1.2m dish, feed, downconverter and precision tracking motors.

For the EST, a very low power transmitter, installed in the shack, generated signals on the Ham Video frequencies, transmitting a DATV recording at 1.3 and 2.0 MS/s and FEC ½. The DATV signal was received and decoded by the IK1SLD station and webstreamed to the BATC server.

B.USOC (Belgian User Support and Operations Center – ESA) conducted operations. B.USOC and EAC (European Astronaut Center – Cologne, Germany) specialists operated from Livorno at Kayser Itallia's laboratory, where a Ham Video unit, the so-called EBB (Elegant BreadBox), is operational. Parties involved were interconnected per teleconference.
At Casale Monferrato, Claudio Ariotti IK1SLD and Piero Tognolatti I0KPT produced, received and webstreamed the signals in the different configurations as requested by B.USOC. ESA and ARISS observers participated to the EST teleconference. After debriefing, the EST was declared successful.

Simulations were done differently. B.USOC supervised from their offices in Brussels and ARISS responsibles Piero Tognolatti I0KPT and Jean Pierre Courjaud F6DZP operated from home. The simulations were done in the Columbus mockup at EAC, where a non operational Ham Video model is installed. This box is used for astronaut training on Ham Video.

A KuPS power supply was also used, as well as a camera similar to the one onboard Columbus in space. Ham Video transmissions were simulated in the different configurations (frequencies and symbol rates). A view of operations in the Columbus mockup was webstreamed to the participants. ARISS operators simulated reception as if thery were at the Matera ground station, taking into account expected timing between AOS and LOS. They signaled AOS and requested “crew“ at EAC to transmit in different configurations, according a pre-determined scenario. At LOS, the test stopped and results were commented.

Four “passes” were simulated this way, using both ARISS antennas. An important goal of the simulations was to check the efficiency of communications between ground and “crew”. Commands were initiated by ARISS operators (supposedly from Matera), received at B.USOC, relayed to the Columbus Control Center at Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich and uplinked to “crew” by EUROCOM. The European ISS Control Center is called Col-CC and its spacecraft communicator's call sign is EUROCOM. The Simulations were conducted successfully and lessons were learned for gaining time on transmitting commands. This is important considering the limited 8 minutes contact time during real Commissioning.

ARISS proposed to use our VHF uplink capabilities to “crew” for the Commissioning. This was not acceptable with regard to ESA's commissioning protocol.

Presently, ISS pass predictions for Matera are computed for several weeks starting mid October, The Matera VLBI activities are to be taken into account for determining usable passes. Four passes will be needed to fullfil the Commissioning requirements.

Ham Video Commissioning activities will be decided by ESA and NASA ISS Operations. Hopefully the Commissioning will be planned during Expedition 37. We will keep you informed.


Gaston Bertels – ON4WF
ARISS-Europe chairman

P.S: Ham TV Bulletins are available at

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Portugal takes action against illegal radio communications

Wednesday 11th September 2013

Jose Francisco CT4AN, REP national MS co-ordinator, reports that the Portuguese national regulator has taken action against illegal radio communications

It's the second time ANACOM and the Portuguese Maritime Police act over illegal communications and interferences.

The Portuguese Maritime Police, a branch of the Portuguese Navy, and the Communications Authority ICP-ANACOM made a control operation which resulted in confiscations  on radio equipments and heavy fines to ten operators. Besides having the equipment confiscated, the operators face fines which may reach 1250€, close to 1650USD.

The newspapers detail that the fiscalization was made on 28 vessels and 29 harboured stations, both on sea, inland and in waterways.

The Authorities said that the operation was based on interference complaints to legal radio systems, including Amateur Radio Service, Aeronautical Band, Maritime Service and commercial radio frequencies.

Rede dos Emissores Portugueses (REP) in Google English

Portuguese Regulator ANACOM

The UK communications regulator Ofcom used to report prosecution statistics but has not done so since the 2008/9 financial year. Not only do Ofcom no longer report what actions they taken, they also appear to have removed the previously published figures from their website.

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Special prefix for Brownies' 100th birthday

Wednesday 11th September 2013

2014 will see the Brownies celebrate their 100th birthday, with various exciting activities and challenges available.

Ofcom has agreed that stations may apply for the special GB100 prefix to their usual Thinking Day On The Air callsigns.

The NoV applications will need to be accompanied by a supporting letter from one of the Girl guiding leaders also involved with the event.
You can download a template at

Thinking Day is an opportunity for the members of the Guide Association from the youngest Rainbow to the oldest Trefoil Guild member to talk to other members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world via amateur radio.

The 2014 event will be on 15th and 16th February 2014.

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B-11 and B-12 Pico balloons break world duration record

Tuesday 10th September 2013

The solar powered pico balloons B-11 and B-12 were launched by Leo Bodnar from Silverstone, UK on September 1 and 2 respectively

As of 1238 UT on Monday, September 9 both balloons were still in the air transmitting the amateur radio DominoEX16 data mode on 434.500 MHz USB.

During their record-breaking duration flights, the two balloons have between them flown over most countries in Europe and are now out of the range of tracking stations. B-11 was last reported over Turkey and B-12 over Ukraine. Both balloons are fitted with solar panels which recharge the on-board Lipo battery. B-12 has suffered a battery failure so only transmits when in sunlight.

Tracks of the pico balloons B-11 and B-12 in red and blue respectively as at Sept. 9, 2013 12:38 UT

Pico balloons are proving increasing popular with amateurs. The small foil party balloons can only carry ultra light balloon payloads, typically weighing less than 100 grams.  (Photo Right B-12 Pico balloon with the tiny lightweight 434 MHz payload – Image credit Leo Bodnar)

This presents a challenge to the builders to produce a transmitter, GPS, batteries and antenna that are small and light enough to be carried.

Balloons such as these do not go to extremes of altitude but instead float at between 2,500 and 8,000 metres for an extended period. The 434 MHz transmitters can have a radio range of up
to 400 km.

Information on the two balloons is at

Tracks of B-11 and B-12;B-12

Real-time balloon tracking

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi

To get details of upcoming UK balloon launches subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

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Online ham radio log statistics website

Tuesday 10th September 2013

Yan, XV4Y, runs a Web page called 'QScope'. is an online application that provides statistics and charts from amateur radio logs.

While some features are designed with contesting in mind, most of the statistics will be useful for DXers and DXpeditions. You just import your ADIF 2 or Cabrillo logs into QScope database and then browse the statistic and charts pages.

The application allows for exporting your results in PDF and to share the web links to the charts you produced with your friends.

QScope permits you to create as many containers as you want and import as many logs as you need into them, so you can classify or aggregate the data the way you want.

QScope offers informations like:
- Number of QSOs, Operating Time
- Unique callsigns worked, unique DXCCs entities, CQ and ITU Zones
- Average and Maximum QSO Rates over periods of 10, 30 and 60 minutes
- Activity Map showing which band, mode, operating position was more productive during a contest
- Charts with number of QSOs per unique callsign, band, mode or operator
- Charts with number of Points per unique callsign, band, mode or operator
- Charts with number of QSOs per CQ and ITU Zones
- Charts showing hour by hour, the Number of QSOs and Points, Number of new CQ and new ITU Zones worked, Number of new DXCC entities and
new Prefixes worked
- Charts with Operating Time per band, mode or operator with parameter for pause duration
- Charts showing minute by minute how much was your QSO Rate for your whole log, per operator or per band, with parameter for the sample duration from 5 minutes to 60 minutes
- Charts with Maximum QSO Rates per band, mode or operator with parameter for the sample duration from 5 minutes to 60 minutes

* Note that the informations you can display depends on the data available in your logfile. ADIF logs containing more details than Cabrillo.

More features and statistics are planned to be included in future versions. Suggestions are welcome. Registration and access to the website are free.


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Nanowave Slow Scan TV

Tuesday 10th September 2013

On Wednesday night, September 4, Richard Hanes G0RPH and Barry Chambers G8AGN tried sending SSTV via red light over the 66km path from High Bradfield to Manton

Visibility was poor with evident scintillation which improved as the sky darkened. Nevertheless their lights were spotted as soon as they were switched on and cw keyer signals were followed by good speech both ways.

They next switched to SSTV. Richard was able to receive good signals from Barry but was unable to transmit back due to a problem with the computer soundcard. Bench testing earlier had worked perfectly!!

Last night demonstrated once again how effective the phlatlight LEDs are at getting signals across when visibility is poor.

This is possibly the first SSTV test on Nanowaves in the UK.

This video shows Barry G8AGN/P on his side of the 66 km path from Bradfield, IO93FK, to G0RPH/P at Manton in Lincolnshire.

Watch G8AGN Nanowave SSTV

UK Nanowaves Yahoo Group

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September 432 and Above EME Newsletter

Tuesday 10th September 2013

The September issue of the free amateur radio 432 MHz and Above EME Newsletter has an item on A4BLC’s 10450 MHz to 10368 MHz convertor

Also inside is a picture of new mesh being installed on the impressive 6 metre dish of Peter Blair G3LTF.

Available in Word and PDF formats the newsletter can be downloaded from

Previous newsletters are at

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Russian cosmonaut quits.. to become a gasman !

Monday 9th September 2013

Space travel seems to have lost its magic after a Russian cosmonaut dramatically quit as a commander on a future mission - to become a gasman.

Colonel Yury Lonchakov, RA3DT, was today accused of 'betrayal' by opting for a 'more interesting job' and forgoing his chance to lead a flight to the International Space Station, the MailOnline reports.

He came under pressure from his wife, ex-airline stewardess Tatiana, 40, to get find a better paid job, say sources at Star City, home of cosmonauts' training, near Moscow.

It is understood he will earn more than double his £18,396 a year salary as commander of a flight to the ISS scheduled for May 2015.

He has secured an unspecified job with Russian gas giant Gazprom, said a friend. 'Yury does not want any publicity. He told me he has already got a permanent job at Gazprom.

Read the full MailOnline article at

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IARU MS: 144 MHz threatened by pirates

Monday 9th September 2013

The August issue of the IARU Monitoring System (IARUMS) newsletter reports the amateur radio 2m band is threatened by pirates using cheap HT's

They have had reports from several countries about unlicensed operators using cheap VHF FM handhelds in the 144 MHz band.

Spain: Taxi-nets in the Canary Islands,
Spanish: Fishery in the Bay of Biscay
Germany: Private users

The IARU Monitoring System say please observe and inform your national authorities when you hear this type of activity.

The International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) Region 1 August 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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DXCC Country/Entity Report

Monday 9th September 2013

According to the Amateur Radio Cluster Network for the week of Sunday, 1st-September, through Sunday, 8th-September there were 226 countries active.

Countries available:

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

A2, A4, A5, A6, A7, A9, AP, BV, BY, C3, C6, C9, CE, CE9, CM, CN, CP, CT, CT3, CU, CX, D2, D4, DL, DU, E5/s, E7, EA, EA6, EA8, EA9, EI, EK, EL, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EX, EY, EZ, F, FG, FH, FK, FM, FO, FR, FS, FY, G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW, H4, HA, HB, HB0, HC, HC8, HI, HK, HL, HP, HR, HS, HV, HZ, I, IS, J2, J3, J5, J6, J7, J8, JA, JD/o, JT, JW, JY,

K, KG4, KH0, KH2, KH6, KH9, KL, KP2, KP4, LA, LU, LX, LY, LZ, OA, OD, OE, OH, OH0, OJ0, OK, OM, ON, OX, OY, OZ, P2, P4, PA, PJ2, PJ4, PY, PZ, S2, S5, S7, SM, SP, SU, SV, SV5, SV9, T2, T32, T5, T7, T8, TA, TF, TG, TI, TJ, TK, TL, TT, TU, TY, TZ, UA, UA2, UA9, UK, UN, UR,

V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, VE, VK, VK9N, VP2E, VP8, VP8/h, VP9, VQ9, VR, VU, XE, XW, XX9, YA, YB, YI, YJ, YL, YN, YO, YS, YU, YV, Z2, Z3, ZA, ZB, ZC4, 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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Inflatable antenna could give CubeSats greater reach

Sunday 8th September 2013

MIT report researchers led by Alessandra Babuscia (photo left) have developed a new design of antenna for small satellites known as CubeSats

Due the their small size CubeSats have been restricted to small monopole or dipole antennas.

Such low gain omni-directional antennas have restricted CubeSats to Low Earth Orbits (LEO) using lower data rates than would be possible with a large dish antenna.

The MIT team, led by Alessandra Babuscia, is part of the research group of radio amateur Professor Sara Seager KB1WTW and also includes graduate students Mary Knapp KB1WUA, Benjamin Corbin, and Mark Van de Loo from MIT, and Rebecca Jensen-Clem from the California Institute of Technology.

The new inflatable antenna developed by Alessandra Babuscia and her team may significantly increase the communication range of these small satellites, enabling them to travel much farther in the solar system: The team has built and tested an inflatable antenna that can fold into a compact space and inflate when in orbit.

It is claimed the distance that can be covered by a satellite with an inflatable antenna is seven times farther than that of existing CubeSat communications.

“With this antenna you could transmit from the moon, and even farther than that,” says Alessandra Babuscia, who led the research as a postdoc at MIT. “This antenna is one of the cheapest and most economical solutions to the problem of communications.”

Read the full story at

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Live streaming of UKHAS Conference Saturday

Friday 6th September 2013

The UK High Altitude Society Conference takes place on Saturday, September 7 and the presentations will be streamed live to the web

There is an impressive line-up of speakers in addition to which there will be workshops, demonstrations along with assessments and exam for the amateur radio Foundation licence. Among the presentations will be one on Narrow Band TV by Phil Heron 2I0VIM.

To watch the presentations go to

Details of the conference at

To get details of upcoming UK balloon launches subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

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AmateurLogic.TV - IC-7000 vs IC-7100 Special

Friday 6th September 2013

A no holds barred, cage match between the Icom IC-7000 vs the IC-7100. See how these two great mobile HF/VHF/UHF radios stack up beside each other in an unscripted competition.

Who will win, Team Tommy or Team George?

31:26 radio competition

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Are UK amateur radio licences really on the increase?

Friday 6th September 2013

Ofcom have released the amateur radio licence statistics for September 2013 showing a further rise in numbers

The grand total of licences at the start of September was 81888 an increase of 87 over the August figure.

The Ofcom website says
"The new "lifetime" licence will remain valid for as long as the licence details remain correct or until such time as the licence is either revoked by Ofcom or surrendered by the licensee. There is no end date on the "lifetime" amateur radio licence but Ofcom will revoke the licence unless the licence is either amended or validated at least once every 5 years."

The first of these new licences were issued in 2006 but the licence statistics appear to show that none yet been revoked due to the holder failing to amended or validate it. Because of the impact of the Olympics, Ofcom did make the initial licences run for six years instead of five. This extention should have resulted in those licences that were not validated dropping out of the statistics after December 2012.

Since 2006 possibly as many as 3,500 UK radio amateurs have died and they would have been expected to drop out of the statistics, but month after month the numbers that Ofcom report show a steady rise.

There is no way of telling how many amateurs have simply given up the hobby in the past 7 years or how many amateurs there really are. The rumour mill may suggest that fewer than 25,000 amateurs have renewed their licence but the statistics do not tell us.

On March 14, 2013 a response to a Freedom of Information Request stated that "Ofcom have not carried out another extension." [of the licence], but it seems they haven't revoked any licences either.

Ofcom UK Amateur Radio Licence Statistics

How to validate your licence

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FUNcube-1 is in its Pod

Thursday 5th September 2013

The AMSAT FUNcube team are delighted to be able to announce that the FUNcube-1 CubeSat has now completed all its final testing and been placed into its launch pod. (Photo Right)

This work was completed during a three day programme at the premises of ISIS BV in Delft in the Netherlands and was finished, on time, late Wednesday afternoon on September 4, 2013.

FUNcube-1 is actually the middle 1U CubeSat of three sharing a 3U ISIPOD.  It is sharing the ISIPOD with ZACUBE-1 from South Africa  and HiNCube from Norway.

ZACube-1, in addition to carrying VHF and UHF communications equipment also has a 20 metre beacon which will operate on 14.099 MHz  This ISIPOD, with the spacecraft inside, will be transported to Russia, early next month, for launch and will eventually be attached directly to the launch vehicle.

FUNcube-1 carries a 435/145 MHz linear transponder for SSB and CW communications and a telemetry beacon using 1k2 BPSK for educational outreach purposes.

The current launch info has lift off scheduled for November 21 at 07:11:29 UT

Full initial orbit details and TLE’s, together with decoding software will be made available over the next few weeks.


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Radio hams to say 'HI' to Juno on 10m

Thursday 5th September 2013

NASA's Juno mission is inviting amateur radio operators around the world to transmit a coordinated message on the 28 MHz band to the Juno spacecraft (Right: Computer generated image of Juno firing it's main engine)

NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly past Earth on October 9, 2013 to receive a gravity assist from our planet, putting it on course for Jupiter.

To celebrate this event, the Juno mission is inviting amateur radio operators around the world to say "HI" to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code message. Juno's radio and plasma wave experiment, called Waves, should be able to detect the message if enough people participate. 

Juno will have a better chance of detecting the signal from many operators if the signal is spread out across the spectrum. The Juno Waves instrument is a broadband receiver, and the detector being used for this event has a band width of 1 MHz. It is better for detection of the signal to have a broadband signal coming in.

For this experiment, we would like to ask those participating to spread out in frequency across the 10 meter band. We have supplied a table of suggested frequencies between 28 and 29 MHz, based on the last letter of your call. When the HFR receiver is tuned to 28MHz, the center frequency is 28.5 MHz. A 50 kHz high pass filter limits low frequencies hitting the detector, so the frequency table excludes 28.5 MHz ±50 kHz. The natural signals we expect to measure at Jupiter will consist of a large number of discrete tones, so spreading the signals out in this manner is a good approximation to the signals we expect to detect. But at Jupiter, we don't expect to be able to decode CW in our telemetry!

The 28 MHz band was chosen for this experiment for several reasons. The Waves instrument is sensitive to radio signals in all amateur bands below 40 MHz, but experience with the University of Iowa instruments on the Galileo and Cassini earth flybys shows significant shielding by the ionosphere at lower frequencies. As sad as it sounds, we hope for lousy band conditions on October 9, so an appreciable fraction of the radiated energy escapes the ionosphere into space, and is not refracted back down to the ground somewhere else on the planet.

Juno's antenna consists of a pair of tapered 2.8 meter long titanium tubes, deployed from the bottom deck of the spacecraft under the +X solar array and magnetometer boom. A high impedance radiation resistant preamp sits at the base of the antenna and buffers the signals from 50 Hz to 45 MHz. The elements are deployed with an opening angle of about 120 degrees. Ten meters is above the resonant frequency of the antenna and NEC analysis indicates a lobe generally along the spin axis of the spacecraft. This will be good for detection on the inbound part of closest approach to Earth.

The Waves instrument uses four receivers to cover the frequency range of 50 Hz to 41 MHz. Signals up to 3 MHz are bandpass filtered, sampled by A/D converters and FFT processed into spectra using a custom FFT processor developed by The University of Iowa under a grant from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.

Please join in, and help spread the word to fellow amateur radio enthusiasts!

NASA - Say "HI" to Juno!

See How do I participate ? for the frequency list.

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Etherkit releases CRX1: A new 40 meter receiver kit

Thursday 5th September 2013

We are pleased to announce the release of Etherkit’s newest product, the CRX1 receiver!

The CRX1 is a simple VXO-tuned superheterodyne receiver for the 40 meter band, with tuning centered around the popular QRP watering hole frequency of 7.030 MHz.

It is entirely constructed from surface mount devices in the easy-to-build 0805 (US) size for passive components and SOT-23 class semiconductors. The PCB is large and single-sided, which provides for uncramped construction and makes the CRX1 an ideal warm-up kit for the CC1 QRP transceiver (coming soon).

The CRX1 is not just meant to be a novelty to be tossed aside after construction. All of the support circuitry for muting, T/R, and sidetone is included, so it can be paired with virtually any transmitter which uses grounded keying. There is also a port for an external VFO to enable further user experimentation. All controls and connectors are included with this kit, so you just need to supply an enclosure and a few knobs to finish the job!


Frequency Range: Approximately 7.030 to 7.034 MHz (at +13.7 VDC power supply)

IF Bandwidth: Approximately 400 Hz
Current Consumption: 25 mA (at +13.7 VDC power supply)
Power supply: +9 VDC to +14 VDC
MDS: -123 dBm
3rd Order IMD DR: 84 dB
IF Rejection: 74 dB
Image Rejection: 67 dB
PCB dimensions: 70 mm x 100 mm
Antenna Connector: BNC
DC Power Connector: 2.1 mm barrel jack
Phone Jack: 3.5 mm stereo
Key Jack: 3.5 mm stereo
Reverse polarity protection
Muting, sidetone (user enabled), T/R switch, external VFO port included

Available Bands

40 Meters – 7.030 to 7.034 MHz

You can find it for sale here at the Etherkit store, along with all of the Open Source documentation and design files:

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TV white spaces: Approach to coexistence

Thursday 5th September 2013

Ofcom has today published a consultation on how TV ‘white space’ devices – technologies which exploit gaps in radio spectrum that sit between frequency bands – can coexist with services in and adjacent to 470 MHz to 790 MHz (the UHF TV band).

Use of these white spaces allows devices to transmit and receive wireless signals for applications such as broadband access for rural communities or innovative ‘machine-to-machine’ networks.

Today’s consultation sets out Ofcom’s proposals for calculating white space availability in the UK in a way that ensures these devices can coexist with other spectrum users. This is part of the implementation by Ofcom of the regulatory framework for TV white spaces.

 The closing date for the consultation is 15 November 2013.

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434.5 MHz Solar Balloons still in the air

Wednesday 4th September 2013

The Solar Powered balloon B-11, launched from Silverstone, UK on Sunday afternoon, September 1, is still in the air over Germany 

B-12 was launched on Monday, September 2 and like B-11, is also running DominoEX 16 on 434.500 MHz. On Tuesday evening it was over Southern Germany.

It is reported that both payloads are doing well and the solar panels are charging the onboard Lipos.

Information on the balloons is at

See the real-time track of the balloons at

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi

To get details of upcoming UK balloon launches subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

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Summer 2013 edition of the 5 MHz Newsletter now available

Wednesday 4th September 2013

I'm pleased to announce the latest - Summer 2013 - edition of The 5MHz Newsletter is now available to freely download in pdf format. This is Edition No.7.

This edition includes the latest news about 5 MHz Amateur Allocations, the latest update of the Worldwide Amateur 5 MHz Allocations Chart, stories on 5 MHz usage in South Africa, plus items on UK and German changes. Beacon Spot features the last in the UK chain, GB3ORK, in Orkney and G3ENI investigates the ground beneath him.

It can be found at        (Dropbox)
or        (Google Docs/Drive)
in the 5 MHz Section of The Southgate Ham Forum


Paul Gaskell G4MWO
Editor, The 5 MHz Newsletter

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Fresnel invented the lighthouse lens

Wednesday 4th September 2013

The lighthouse with its beam of light relies on a lens that is now routinely used by voice light-beam experimenters - and is finding more modern applications.

Augustin Fresnel designed a lens of large aperture and short focal length, in a much smaller package than was the convention.

Lighthouses were able to blaze many times brighter, further and more efficiently.

As the French Lighthouse Commission Secretary of the day he illuminated the entire coastline of France.

The British initially shunned it, and so did the Americans - but quickly acknowledged the superiority of the Fresnel lens.

A fascinating book entitled 'A Short Bright Flash' by Theresa Levitt, talks about the man, has 60 illustrations and is a must-read for history, lighthouse and Fresnel fans.

Jim Linton VK3PC


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US Space Fence shut down

Tuesday 3rd September 2013

It is reported on SatWatch that the 216 MHz US Space Fence, used to detect orbital objects, was shutdown on September 1, 2013 at 0000 UT

The Space Fence is a U.S. government multistatic radar system built to detect orbital objects passing over the United States. There are three transmitter sites operating on 216.983, 216.97 and 216.99 MHz and six receiving stations.

According to Wiki the system is understood to be capable of detecting a 10 cm object at an altitude of 30,000 km and makes 5 million satellite observations each month.

Early in August Space News reported that: Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, “has directed that the Air Force Space Surveillance System be closed and all sites vacated” effective Oct. 1, the memo said.

However, it appears that the shutdown has occurred earlier.

The reason for the shutdown is believed to be because the Federal Government is spending more than its budget resulting in automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

Air Force Space Surveillance System

Space News, August 6, 2013


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CQ from a haunted house

Tuesday 3rd September 2013

The South Eastern Amateur Radio Group have been invited by Waterford and Suir Valley Railway to take part in an event which will be held at Kilmeaden Railway Station in line with the Kilmeaden Vintage Festival over the weekend of the 7th and 8th September.

This will include a number of family events, children’s entertainment and
birds of prey. SEARG will operate from the railway station over the weekend using the EI2WRC/P call. Club member John Tubbritt EI3HQB will also have his Rolls Royce on show at the event.

With less than 3 weeks left to go till the South Eastern Amateur Radio Group’s activation of Loftus Hall on Friday the 13th September final preparations are being made.

Loftus Hall is widely renowned as Ireland’s most haunted house.
It has been given the CASHOTA reference EI025/SH. It promises to be a fun activation and one for the whole family with junior op’s welcome
to come along. More details about this event can be got from any SEARG committee member.

For up-to-date news about the South Eastern Amateur Radio Group and it’s actives you can check our website and you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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3B9, Rodriguez Island

Tuesday 3rd September 2013

Members of the Verona DX Team should now be active as 3B9EME from Rodriguez Island (AF-017) until September 13th.

They will have 2 stations on at the same time on the HF bands, with an emphasis on 160/80/40/30/17/12 meters, using CW, SSB, RTTY, JT65hf and PSK31. Also, some EME activity on 144 and 432 MHz.

For more details and the QSL route, visit the 3B9EME Web site at:


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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:-