Amateur radio in the news: oldest social media, convention, FCC shutdown

Ham radio operators stay true to social media’s low-tech roots. Long ago, before Facebook, Twitter and email, ham radio operators were the original social media geeks. And they’re still out there, in greater numbers than ever, chatting and messaging each other all over the world without an Internet connection or even a telephone line.

Amateur radio club hosts convention. The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club hosted the 2013 ARRL Southwestern Division Convention in September at the Marriott Hotel in Buellton. The conference brought together amateur radio enthusiasts from all of Southern California and Arizona to share and learn from the experts on specific topics of concern. The conference stressed two areas of interest: emergency preparedness and attracting young students to the art of Amateur Radio.

Shutdown upends ham radio buffs’ Wake Isle trip marking massacre. For anyone questioning the reach of the federal government shutdown, consider Wake Island. Not much more than military-plane refueling and classified operations occur on the unincorporated U.S. territory, a coral atoll located between Hawaii and Guam, about 6,700 miles (10,780 kilometers) from the legislative standoff in Washington. That was about to change this week with the arrival of a dozen ham-radio operators who thought they’d won approval for a two-week commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the World War II massacre of almost 100 U.S. civilian contractors on Wake Island by the Japanese on Oct. 7, 1943. Instead, after months of preparation, the trip is on ice because of a paperwork delay the group attributes to the partial federal shutdown, which started Oct. 1 as Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a stopgap spending measure.

Amateur radio in the news: VOIP, emcomm, clubs

More kids should get the idea that amateur radio can still lead to a good career in tech…Dan

Vonage co-founder: VoIP came from ham radio, big bad telecoms At TwilioCon, Vonage co-founder Jeff Pulver gave a fascinating keynote about ham radio, getting fired, and a run-in with the FBI — and how all that gave birth to modern voice over Internet protocol technology. Pulver is widely recognized as a pioneer of VoIP technology and was the chief writer of the FCC’s first VoIP ruling.His current company is a Twilio-based iOS and Android app called Zula, created to enable better communication among teams. “It was amateur radio that unlocked my connection to voice over IP,” he said.

Ghostbusters-like crew of amateur radio operators help in emergency. When disaster strikes and traditional telecommunications services are curtailed, who do emergency responders call? A Ghostbusters-like crew of amateur radio operators.

This is a nice profile of a club in Maryland….Dan

Hamming it up on the air. For Rob Hoyt, president of the Charles County Amateur Radio Club, his interest in amateur radio started when he was a kid. But he credits his hobby for leading to a successful career.

Amateur radio in the news: GA ISS contact (video), ABQ hams reach out

Students at a school in Alpharetta, GA got to talk with a U.S. astronaut in real time via ham radio as he passed over Mill Springs Academy onboard the International Space Station on Wednesday.

Local hams ‘reach out and touch someone’ around the globe. When Larry Elkin of Rio Rancho was going to college in New York, he picked up a radio transmission astronaut John Glenn sent from orbit around Earth. Now, Elkin is president of the High Desert Amateur Radio Club of New Mexico Inc., a local group that aims to educate people about amateur radio operation and is available to help with emergency communication.

101-year-old Bill Finch (W4EHF, SK) was Senior Games competitor, amateur radio enthusiast. Bill Finch was as charmingly timeless as the hobbies he pursued. He was an amateur radio aficionado well into his 90s and an athlete whose prowess in the Senior Games may well stand the test of time.

Bill seems like someone I’d want to know….Dan

Hams oppose tower project

A recent article, “Radio towers spark high wattage opposition,” in the online edition of All Point Bulletin, the community newspaper of Point Roberts, WA, caught my eye. At issue is the construction of five, 150-ft. AM radio towers. According to the article, “The antennas will produce a broadcasting signal for KPRI Ferndale 1550 AM which bills itself as ‘your number 1 South Asian voice.’ The company currently broadcasts at 50,000 watts during the day and 10,000 watts at night.”

Towards the bottom of the article, this paragraph appears:

Ham radio operator Steve Wolff told the crowd that Point Roberts’ ham radio club members were unanimous in their opposition to the towers. Citing an objection filed with the FCC, he recounted how one ham radio operator in Ferndale had received burns from the radio energy captured by his radio tower from the KRPI broadcasts.

First, I find it quite ironic that amateur radio operators would actually oppose a tower-construction project. Second, I’ve never heard of anyone getting RF burns from his tower from a broadcast signal. Seriously, how close would the amateur radio tower have to be to the broadcast tower to capture enough power to cause an RF burn?

Amateur radio in the news: reaching out to kids, ILLW, Lancaster Count Fair

 

The Owensboro ARC hosts a children’s program at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History where kids can learn the Phonetic Alphabet while making crafts.

The Owensboro ARC hosts a children’s program at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History where kids can learn the Phonetic Alphabet while making crafts.

Owensboro ARC reaches out to younger audience. The Owensboro Amateur Radio Club  hosts a children’s program at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History where kids can learn the Phonetic Alphabet while making crafts. “We are trying to get younger folks interested,” Walt Shipman, KI4OYH, said Thursday. “It’s where it starts.”

I like this idea! It might be something we can do down at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum….Dan

Lighthouse to go international. Radio operators from around the world will be including the Oak Orchard Lighthouse (NY) in International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, Aug. 17 and 18. It is the first time the lighthouse is participating in the event fully.

Keeping an eye on the sky. If you go to the Lancaster County (NE) Super Fair, you’ll probably see guys in golf carts and green jackets offering rides to those in need. Those guys are members of the Lincoln Amateur Radio Club. Members of the club are also trained storm spotters — many involved in the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, and they know exactly what to do if severe weather hits.

 

Amateur radio in the news: new advanced communications center; crazy ants

NISTNIST and NTIA  to Establish New Center for Advanced Communications.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have announced plans to establish a national Center for Advanced Communications in Boulder, Colo. The two agencies  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the establishment of the center. The MOU states that the center will leverage the “critical mass of NIST and NTIA research and engineering capabilities concentrated in Boulder” to form a “unique national asset,” and includes the infrastructure and collaborative environment needed to address a wide range of advanced communications challenges. This joint effort will increase the impact of existing efforts already under way in both agencies.

 

“Crazy ants” destroy electronics. Exterminator Mike Matthews got the call because the home’s air-conditioning unit had short-circuited. Why an exterminator for a problem with an appliance? Because of the crazy ants.

Matthews has seen crazy ants disable scores of air-conditioning units near Austin, Texas, where the invasive creatures have been a real headache. The ants swarm inside the units, causing them to short-circuit and preventing them from turning on. Often the switches inside them need to be replaced, thanks to the ants, said Matthews, who works for the Austin-area pest control business The Bug Master.

Amateur radio in the news: Hurricanes, North Korea, advanced communications

hurricane_symbol_blueHam radio still part of hurricane center arsenal. Amid the high-tech computers, satellite dishes and sophisticated equipment at the National Hurricane Center is a HAM radio operator station, somewhat hidden in a back office. It might seem like it’s akin to placing a teletype on a space shuttle. But when hurricanes form, the amateur radio station cranks up and receives weather information from HAM operators in the affected areas. Their observations help the forecasters in Miami-Dade County better judge a storm’s strength or position and issue more precise warnings.

ARRRRGHHHH. Someone please tell this reporter that “ham” is not capitalized!!

Ham radio operators hope to put North Korea on the air. A group of amateur radio operators are hoping to get permission from the North Korean government for a month-long trip to the country during which they’ll set up a ham radio operation. If they manage to pull off the plan, they’ll have succeeded where few have before. North Korea has no amateur radio operators and government-sanctioned transmissions by foreigners in the country are extremely rare. This makes North Korea the rarest country for contacts in the amateur radio world.

Can you imagine what a pileup this operation–if they can get permission–is going to generate?? 

NIST and NTIA announce plans for new advanced communications center. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced plans to establish a national Center for Advanced Communications in Boulder, Colo. The new center will implement a key provision of a memorandum President Obama issued earlier today on “Expanding America’s Leadership in Wireless Innovation.”

This sounds like something that the ARRL should keep an eye on.

Amateur radio in the news: Raising awareness in India and Ghana

Here are a couple of recent news items about efforts to increase the awareness of amateur radio and the number of amateur radio operators overseas. These efforts are definitely something that we should individually and as members of the ARRL support…..Dan

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Awareness drive to revive ham radio
. The Indian Institute of Hams is seeking to expand its base of amateur radio users, especially targeting youths, which it believes will help during times of emergency. The institute on Sunday began its awareness drive in association with the Institution of Engineers (India). Later in the month, it will hold a two-day workshop wherein new members who want to experiment with ham radio will be trained and recruited as ham radio enthusiasts.

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Ghana holds first amateur radio administration course workshop. The first Amateur Radio Administration course, aimed at bringing together operators, industry experts and other relevant bodies to exchange experiences and best practices in the field, is underway in Accra. The weeklong workshop is being organised by the National Communication Authority (NCA) in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).

 

Ham radio in the news: more than a hobby, ten-year-old ham, GEARS

Jerry Wetzel, W3DMB, with some of the QSL cards he has collected over the years.

For some, ham radio is more than a hobby.
Jerry Wetzel has relayed messages to scientists and military personnel at the South Pole from his amateur radio station in Butler and provided a vital communications link to people in the path of hurricanes. He has talked with astronauts aboard the International Space Station who are ham radio operators.

At age 10, Trenton girl is among youngest amateur radio operators.
When many kids her age are learning texting abbreviations such as ROFL or IYKWIM (“if you know what I mean”), 10-year-old Sierra Saylors is focused on KK4RJW. That’s her call sign, the collection of numbers and letters issued by the FCC that identifies her as a legitimate ham-radio operator.

Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society turns a hobby into community service.
While historians still debate who actually invented radio, one thing is certain: Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society is keeping the airwaves of ham radio buzzing. The Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society, or GEARS, was organized Aug. 13, 1939 by a group of 11 radio buffs in the Northern Sacramento Valley.

Amateur radio in the news: 11/18/12

This edition of “Amateur Radio in the News” features a story on how a young ham in Ireland helped prevent an airline disaster and how electrical engineering students in New Mexico are getting licenses and using amateur radio as a basis for their senior projects.

Ham radio fan saves U.S. bacon by spotting Sandy mayday call. Amateur radio fan Benny Young, from Tyrone, was tuning in on his hut-based hobby when he heard a ‘mayday’ call from a plane over the Atlantic. But the United Airlines captain, en route from Dublin to Boston, wasn’t able to reach flight controllers in the US. Benny, 29, picked up the pilot’s distress call and managed to get it passed on to emergency services. Here are a couple more reports:

Mentor guides NMSU engineering students as they construct amateur radios. Faculty adviser Robert Hull, Professor Vojin G. Oklobdzija and mentor David Hassall, WA5DJJ, mentor these senior engineering students as they complete their senior project – getting their amateur radio licenses and building QRP rigs.

EU standardizes “hamtagonistic” power line network tech. BPL just refuses to go away. I don’t know why Europe is so keen on this technology, which has failed to gain any traction at all here in the U.S.