Amateur radio in the news: community service, radio prepares for war, end is near for Radio Shack

Floyd County hams talk about their work in the community. A meeting sponsored by the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Services (FAIRS), the Floyd Amateur Radio Society (FARS), and Triad on August 26 was an opportunity to spotlight the work of local ham radio operators.


1935 National HRO U.S. Navy Receiver. Credit P. Litwinovich collection

Radio prepares for war, Part 1. As the roaring twenties came to a close, radio technology would continue to evolve with significant improvements to consumer sets, particularly in the area of shortwave reception. The price of radios would continue to fall as availability continued to increase. Herbert Hoover could have added “a radio in every home” to his famous “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” campaign slogan. This radio boom would continue right up until December of 1941, when the first bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor. After that, new radios would be a scarcity as almost all production and materials were diverted to the war effort.

For RadioShack, the end is near. Gentlemen and gentlewomen of a certain age harbor fond memories of trips to RadioShack. In days of yore, ham radios and homemade guitar amplifiers would emerge from the mysterious jumble of wires and audio components hawked by this unpretentious electronic retailer. Among younger generations with a much different view, the business enjoys a nickname: “S–t Shack.” Definition as per the Urban Dictionary: “derisive term describing the quality of products, the prices, and the people that go there.” Whatever one’s view of this American institution with about 27,000 employees, it is near death. On Thursday, RadioShack warned that it may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Amateur radio in the news: cultural lines, SK, LPFM

Ham radio connects across cultural lines (audio). Amateur radio is a kind of non-commercial broadcasting. Also known as ham radio, the people who do it are known as hams. It’s a popular hobby; there are more than 2 million ham radio clubs around the world, and more than a dozen here in southwest Ohio. Community Voices producer Charlene Edwards, a rookie ham, says every operator has a call sign they use to identify themselves and she has this story about the colorblind quality of ham radio broadcasting.

art_n_iaqunto_0209-300x0SK: Typing teacher became an authority on IT. Maggie Iaquinto came to Australia to start a family, little dreaming that she would make significant contributions as a teacher of information technology, a committee member for the Victorian Information Teachers Association (VITTA) and as a ham radio operator who was able to talk to Russian cosmonauts in their native tongue.

Longtime DJ starts radio station in his home. There’s a “new kid on the block” on the radio waves in Franklin County. WQMR FM-LP (low power) or Q101.3 has been on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the station a license to broadcast, according to Executive Director Don Mattingly, also know as W3EHF.

It’s nice to see hams getting involved in LPFM….Dan

Amateur radio in the news: Chinese pirate radio, higher towers in Poway (CA), new club in Yorkshire

20140827_AirTrafficControlTowerRising number of pirate radio stations in China poses threat to plane safety
BEIJING – The Chinese authorities are concerned that a growing number of pirate radio stations may disrupt communications between passenger jets and air traffic controllers. The high-power stations are in Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and Hainan, Yunnan and Guangdong provinces, said the South China Morning Post. The authorities last year began cracking down on burgeoning pirate and ham radio operators. China had 2.7 million civil radio stations by the end of last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in a report last year in the Global Times. Ham radio enthusiasts were told to register under new national regulations.

Poway – now a ham-friendly city
Poway, Calif., might become a Mecca for amateur radio operators with regulations approved in early August by the City Council. Antennas up to 65 feet can now be built with only a building permit required. In addition, a compromise was reached on requirements for neighbor notification. Tower builders will be required to apprise neighbors within a 250-foot radius of the tower.

Radio amateurs call on new recruits to tune into the world
As social media takes over, enthusiasts from North Yorkshire are calling for recruits to join a new club using historic communications technology to talk to the world. The first ever Colburn and Richmondshire Amateur Radio club has been set up by friends Colin Lyne, Chris Watkins and Craig Dennis who are desperate to encourage people to get involved to keep the hobby alive.

Amateur Radio in the News: N4KPS SK, nine-year-old ham

N4KPS is a ham that I would have liked to have known.

John William Simpson, Sr.

John William Simpson, Sr.

John William Simpson, Sr., N4KPS, 82, ham radio enthusiast and 30-year engineering technician with NASA. John William Simpson, Sr., a native of Covington who resided in the Tabb area of Yorktown for the past 60 years, died Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was 82.

He was a proud U.S. Army veteran and served in the Korean War. He graduated from the NASA Apprentice School and retired as an engineering technician in 1984 after 30 years of service. He continued to work for Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. He was a ham radio enthusiast and received numerous awards, achievements and recognition from NASA, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. He was the co-author on numerous patents, including what was known as the Simpson probe. He worked until Jan. 10, 2014 at the ripe old age of 82.

Nine-year-old Holly Wilson is a licensed radio operator. Nine-year-old Holly Wilson, KG5AOG, doesn’t normally join her classmates in their favorite game: tag. The Lumberton third-grader said she’s not that good. But aspiring to be great at tag isn’t exactly Wilson’s goal. Instead, Wilson has recently obtained an amateur radio license.

Amateur radio operators find thrill in talking around the world. Becoming a ham radio operator isn’t as hard as you might think. Amateur radio in North America dates back to 1908 when Columbia University Radio students formed a radio club. Today, they’re all over the world.

Amateur radio in the news: SuitSat, Poway (CA), radio and aviation

Gravity becomes a reality: Watch the terrifying moment an ‘astronaut’ spins out of the ISS (…but don’t worry, there’s no one inside the suit). As the International Space Station spins around the Earth, a door unexpectedly opens and a figure in a Russian spacesuit is thrown out. It looks like something from the film ‘Gravity’, but the chilling scene happened in real life less than a decade ago. Back in 2006, Nasa astronauts launched one of their ‘colleagues’ from the International Space Station to orbit Earth seven times before burning up in the atmosphere. Fortunately, their colleague was an out-dated empty spacesuit dubbed SuitSat-1 redesigned to be one of the most bizarre satellites ever launched. The makeshift satellite was thrown from the space station by crew members Bill McArthur and Valery Tulare as they began a six-hour spacewalk.

The video that accompanies the article shows SuitSat1 spinning away from the ISS.

The video that accompanies the article shows SuitSat1 spinning away from the ISS.

Ham radio: a hobby and public service. When the lights go dark, telephones are silenced and disaster is in the air, Charlie Ristorcelli is the guy you want to know. The 67-year-old Poway resident is a ham-radio enthusiast whose passion for that old-school but increasingly high tech form of communication provides him a with front-row seat, and potentially an important voice, in any catastrophe.

Expert: Radio, aviation complemented each other. Radio and aviation complemented each other’s growth and development, made possible in part by the financial backing of a well-known Saratoga figure. Clifton Park resident Jim Silva outlined this history during his recent presentation, “Flying the Beam: Early Air Navigation,” to the Schenectady Amateur Radio Association.

Amateur radio in the news: HS ham club, hamfest (rally) in Harwell

Brad’s Beat: Joplin High School Ham Radio ClubStudents at Joplin High School are embracing a technology more than 100 years old. More than 20 students have enrolled in the Ham Radio Club. They’re all studying how to get their license to broadcast. Their teacher is Richard Banks, who has been broadcasting (sic) for more than 25 years. He says many students tend to embrace technology, even if it’s a bit older. The students say talking on ham radio is a lost art of communication, which is better than texting. 

Headwaters Amateur Radio Club makes air waves. Technology is a great thing, but of course, sometimes it can have its flaws. For instance, what if your car breaks down, but you can’t call a tow truck because there is no cell phone service? What if a large storm knocks out all power and there are people who need help? The solution to the problem, and many other communication related issues, is an easy one, and one that may not be on the top of everyone’s minds: amateur radios.

Radio hams put faces to voices at electronics rally (that’s what they call a hamfest in the UK). More than 500 radio fans better used to speaking to each other over the airwaves met face-to-face in Didcot. The radio enthusiasts from all over the UK gathered at Didcot Leisure Centre in Mereland Road for an amateur radio and electronics rally on Sunday.

Amateur radio in the news: K2RNF (SK), new repeaters, Spanish antennas

Wendell sounds like a guy I would have liked to have know…Dan

Wendell, K2RNF (SK). Wendell was a fourth-generation engineer. His three children and two of his grandchildren are also engineers. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he spent most of his career at the Radio Corporation of America. He worked on anti- submarine warfare, missile defense and the global positioning system (GPS), among many other projects. He was licensed as an amateur radio operator, call sign K2RNF. In 1965, he became the first amateur to create a receiving station for weather satellite photos, using his home-built ham radio apparatus with a motor-controlled antenna mounted on a jungle gym in his Moorestown back yard.

UPDATE: I found this obituary for K2RNF on the Philadelphia Inquirer website. It goes into more detail on his work on receiving satellite photos, and even has an old photo of him. Very cool!

Amateur radio repeaters established. Cliff Wallace, W6CDW, a retired police officer and radio engineer, as well as vice-president of the Twirlers Square Dance Club, has established two amateur radio repeaters that have been designed to provide increased coverage from Canyon Lake to the greater Temescal Valley.

You can use Google to translate this for  you. :)

Emitiendo por ondas hasta Japon. Angro Comunicaciones, empresa de Brenes, de los breneros Rodrigo Herrera y Ángeles García, es la única entidad española que fabrica antenas para el mundo del radioaficionado.

Amateur radio in the news: Hong Kong, Wales, young hams, and more

Lots of ham radio items in the news lately, so this post is longer than usual….Dan


Hong Kong’s ham radio enthusiasts lend a helping hand. More than just a hobby and a way to socialise, amateur radio provides vital communications to ensure the safe running of Hong Kong’s charity events.

Gwent radio hams ready to help in emergency. They are helping to guard the public in the event of a disaster, but you may not have even heard of them. Gwent’s RAYNET group – a bunch of licensed amateur radio enthusiasts who help the emergency services in the event of a communications meltdown – is part of a national organisation celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Lake amateur radio operator gets top marks. Lake County amateur radio operators, often called hams, brought home the bacon in a national Field Day event held earlier this year, it was announced Thursday.

young-hamsYoung hams make the grade.  Surrounded by radio gear, Gene Clark sat in his chair and listened intently as his two sixth grade proteges were interviewed by a reporter recently. Dalton Duggers, 11, and Jordan Sirmans, 12, recently earned their radio technician’s licenses, making them two of the youngest licensed ham radio operators in Georgia. The two friends are are members of the Albany Amateur Radio Club (AARC) and are in the Gifted Program at Merry Acres Middle School.

Okanogan Amateur Radio Club recognizes first concrete pouring at Grand Coulee Dam. Dec. 6th, 1935, was the first “ceremonious pour” of concrete at Grand Coulee Dam. It was the first of a total of 12 million yards, which is enough to pour a sidewalk around the world at the equator twice. The Okanogan County Amateur Radio Club W7ORC sponsored a special event to celebrate the anniversary of the that pouring. Club members used their home radio stations, commonly referred to as “HAM SHACKS,” starting at 4 p.m. Dec 6, and ended at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec 8.

Family saved by ham radio and Good Samaritan after car accident. On a cold, bitter night earlier this month, the actions of a Good Samaritan and a ham radio probably saved the lives of a family. It began at about 7 p.m. Dec. 6 when Cody Fowler and his wife, Tina, and their two sons, Jacob and Timmy, were on their way home from Pueblo. Because of the bitter cold temperatures and the icy roads, Cody turned around and drove back down the road, where he discovered that a red SUV had slid off into a ditch. The five people in the car had climbed back onto the road….

Amateur radio in the news: Rotary donates to children’s museum, Waukegan ham charged with interference, more than just a hobby


Kids enjoying the exhibits at the Duluth Children's Museum.

Kids enjoying the exhibits at the Duluth Children’s Museum.

Rotary Club of Duluth makes $2,000 donation. Duluth Children’s Museum will use the money to obtain more equipment for the amateur radio communication programming that derived directly from the DCM’s recent Space Station event.

Unfortunately, this item was very short on details, but I’m trying to follow up with the museum to see if I can make contact with the hams in Duluth who are working with the museum there….Dan

Waukegan man charged with making racially offensive radio transmissions. An amateur radio operator from Waukegan was arrested Tuesday after authorities said he breached security and used racially offensive language on a Lake County Sheriff’s Office corrections radio communications system, officials said. Raymond J. Kelly, 24, of the 4800 block of Eastwood Court, was charged with two counts of tampering with jail communications, as well as one count of harassment through electronic communications, said Sara Balmes, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

I was really sorry to read this…Dan

More than a hobby. Being an amateur radio operator is a great hobby for some, but last week, those hobbyists proved just how important their pastime activity can be in an emergency situation.

Amateur radio in the news: Ft. Wayne (IN) hamfest, CA ISS contact, Roger on the Radio

Another selection of news items about amateur radio from around the country.

Hamfest brings on-air friends together (Journal-Gazette of Ft. Wayne, IN). Amy Kritzman and her husband, Ron, occupied some prime real estate as the 41st annual Fort Wayne Hamfest and Computer Expo opened Saturday. Facing the entrance, the Kritzmans don’t carry the adapters, cords and tools that thousands of ham radio operators forage through every year. What the couple have in stock is personality. One look around Memorial Coliseum Exposition Center’s floor and it’s obvious the Kritzmans are known for their custom-embroidered hats, featuring the names and call signs of radio operators in different thread colors.

Teen takes lead on call to International Space Station.(Contra Costa Times, CA). More than 100 students sat on the playground of Rancho Romero Elementary School on Wednesday morning staring into the clear, blue sky, waiting for their 10-minute date with an astronaut. Many watched in rapt anticipation for one of the two 14-foot antenna towers perched atop one of the school’s buildings to tilt into motion. That, they were told, would be the first sign they had made direct contact with the International Space Station.

Roger, N4ZC, has hosted a radio show on WSGE in Charlotte, NC, playing big band music for the past 33 years.

‘Roger on Your Radio’ signs off at WSGE. For 33 years, Roger Burt – aka “Roger on Your Radio” – stood inside radio station WSGE’s studio at Gaston College in Dallas and broadcast his four-hour radio program called “The Good Stuff,” which featured music from the big band eras.