ARISSat-1

Aug. 26th, 2009 12:09 pm

The ARRL reports that SuitSat-2 is now called ARISSat-1.

The surplus space suit that was going to be used to house SuitSat-2 was discarded earlier this year so ARISS has designated the new experiment ARISSat-1/Radioskaf-2. (Radioskaf-2 is the Russian designation which wasn’t changed.) The experiment will use the same hardware housed inside of a cube with solar panels on each side, a 2-meter ¼ wave whip on once side and a 70-centimeter ¼ wave whip on the other.

I’m looking forward to ARISSat-1. The transmitter and receiver are based on a Software Defined Transponder system, which I need to study. Also the expected lifetime is six months which improves my chances of finding a time when I can get out in the field as it passes overhead.

Stories about amateur radio helping out with wilderness rescues make me think about becoming a part of a search & rescue team. Something like KCSARA. The Seattle ACS group probably needs some more help too.

Here is an announcement about the 2008 National Preparedness Month that appeared in this week’s ARRL Letter. The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League: ARRL–the National Association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; http://www.arrl.org. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The US Department of Homeland Security announced in July that more than 1200 national, regional, state and local businesses and organizations – including several Amateur Radio groups – have pledged their support and joined the 2008 National Preparedness Month Coalition. Sponsored by the department’s “Ready” campaign, National Preparedness Month helps to raise awareness and promote action by Americans, businesses and communities on emergency preparedness.

“As we approach our fifth National Preparedness Month, I want to thank the hundreds of coalition members who are making a difference in their communities by helping raise the basic level of preparedness in our country,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Individual preparedness is the cornerstone of emergency preparedness. Experience shows that if Americans take steps ahead of time, they stand a much better chance of coming through an emergency unharmed and recovering more quickly.”

“The ‘Ready’ campaign and Citizen Corps are specifically encouraging individuals across the nation to take important preparedness steps,” said ARRL Public Relations and Media Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. “These steps include getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, being informed about the different emergencies that may affect them, as well as taking the necessary steps to get trained and become engaged in community preparedness and response efforts.”

National Preparedness Month Coalition members have agreed to distribute emergency preparedness information and sponsor activities across the country that will promote emergency preparedness. Membership is open to all public and private sector organizations. Sign up your club or ARES group now! Groups and individuals can register to become members by visiting the Ready Web site and clicking on the National Preparedness Month banner.

For more information on the Ready Campaign and National Preparedness Month, please visit http://www.ready.gov or http://www.listo.gov for information in Spanish. Information is also available by phone at 1-800-BE-READY or 1-888-SE-LISTO (in Spanish).

According to Pitts, linking up with the Ready.gov people and participating in September’s National Preparedness Month is “an easy win. The federal people are already doing all the hard work. All you really have to do is sign up. Most clubs and ARES groups are already doing activities which fit into their structure, so why not get credit for your actions? Of course, if you do something more with this opportunity, so much the better! But you have to sign your group in and no one can do that for you. There are hundreds of ARES groups and clubs in the country. Wouldn’t it be fun to have even 70 percent of them sign up and get noticed?”

Last nights EARS meeting went well. I managed to avoid being made the chair on any committees but I did volunteer to help coordinate the groups Field Day effort. I have never participated in Field Day before and this is one way to fix that. Step one is to read the rules.

The May 2008 issue of QST published the details of the Homebrew Challenge (HBC) winning entry. In short the HBC was a contest to create a radio that could be built by someone at home that cost $50 or less. I would like to build the TAK-40, one of the winning entries, but paying $100 just to have a service make me the PCBs for the project seems to violate the spirit of the project. I know a few of you out there build hardware and I wondered if I could pick your brain/raid your tools to make the boards. :)

[livejournal.com profile] omg_teh_funnay and I have been chatting about steampunk, airships, letterboxing and other odd hobbies. Going letterboxing or geocaching while all steamed up sounds like a blast. We were talking about amateur raido, CW, Morse code and wireless telegraphy when I was struck with a fantastic idea.

Every year the ARRL hosts a contest, called Field Day where amateurs get out of the house and operate in “emergency” conditions out in the field. A lot of the clubs I have seen use generators and RVs and are setup almost as well as they would be at home. But who says we have to play by their rules?

So I propose a Steam Field Day. We operate the contest in steamy gear and only using appropriate anacronistic technology. Meaning, tubes, random wire antennas and straight keys. Crazy? Yeah! Crazy enough to be fun!

(I have a “full steam ahead” and a “Field Day” icon. Which to use?)

I have had the same Columbia Sportswear coat for a long time. I don't remember what model it is but I picked it up at a fair in Kansas City years before I moved to the Northwest. The only problem with the coat is I need more pocket space and I lost the hood years ago so my head gets wet when it rains. So I've been checking out new coats from Columbia and other places. A fellow ham recommended the Tactical 4.0 System from SCOTTEVEST. It had all the features I wanted and a total of 52 pockets. 52! I hope it fits and is what I wanted. This is the first time I've ordered from SeV so I have a bit of concern. I'll know on Wednesday because it should be delivered then.

When I joined the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) again they offered a discount on their books. So I took advantage of the offer and ordered quite a few of them. According to the tracking information they should be delivered soon. Mmmm... Books... I don't know where they will all fit though.

Finally I sent off an email to the Redmond ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC) apologizing for dropping the ball on some tasks I had taken. I don't know how he'll react but at least I feel somewhat better for having done something.

The ARRL has created a new website to help people who are interested in emergency communications get started with amateur radio. Check it out if you’re interested.

It’s official! Morse code requirement ends Friday, February 23.

Circle Friday, February 23, on your calendar. That’s when the current 5 WPM Morse code requirement will officially disappear from the Amateur Radio Service Part 97 rules. On or after that date, applicants for a General or Amateur Extra class Amateur Radio license no longer will have to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code. They’ll just have to pass the applicable written examination. Federal Register publication January 24 of the FCC’s Report and Order (R&O) in the “Morse code proceeding,” WT Docket 05-235, starts a 30-day countdown for the new rules to become effective. Deletion of the Morse requirement - still a matter of controversy within the amateur community - is a landmark in Amateur Radio history.

“The overall effect of this action is to further the public interest by encouraging individuals who are interested in communications technology or who are able to contribute to the advancement of the radio art, to become Amateur Radio operators; and eliminating a requirement that is now unnecessary and may discourage Amateur Service licensees from advancing their skills in the communications and technical phases of Amateur Radio,” the FCC remarked in the “Morse code” R&O that settled the matter, at least from a regulatory standpoint.

The League had asked the FCC to retain the 5 WPM for Amateur Extra class applicants, but the Commission held to its decision to eliminate the requirement across the board. The R&O appearing in the Federal Register constitutes the official version of the new rules. It is on the web in PDF format.

Until 1991, when a Morse code examination was dropped from the requirements to obtain a Technician ticket, all prospective radio amateurs had to pass a Morse code test. With the change the US will join a growing list of countries that have dropped the need to demonstrate some level of Morse code proficiency to earn access to frequencies below 30 MHz.

The new rules also put all Technician licensees on an equal footing, whether or not they’ve passed a Morse code examination. Starting February 23, Technicians will gain CW privileges on 80, 40, 15 meters and CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on 10 meters.

Once the revised rules are in place, an applicant holding a valid Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for Element 3 (General) or Element 4 (Amateur Extra) may redeem it for an upgrade. A CSCE is good for 365 days from the date of issuance, no exceptions. For example, a Technician licensee holding a valid CSCE for Element 3 may apply at a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) test session, pay the application fee, which most VECs charge, and receive an instant upgrade.

The FCC R&O includes an Order on Reconsideration in WT Docket 04-140 - the so-called “omnibus” proceeding. It will modify Part 97 in response to ARRL’s request to accommodate automatically controlled narrowband digital stations on 80 meters in the wake of other rule changes that became effective last December 15. The Commission designated 3585 to 3600 kHz for such operations, although that segment will remain available for CW, RTTY and data. The ARRL had requested that the upper limit of the CW/RTTY/data subband be set at 3635 kHz, so that there would be no change in the existing 3620 to 3635 kHz subband.

The ARRL has posted all relevant information on these important Part 97 rule revisions on its “FCC’s Morse Code Report and Order WT Docket 05-235” Web page.

The ARRL posted a news story last week about the publication of the FCC’s Report and Order in the “Morse code proceeding” is set to appear in the Federal Register on the 24th of January. Thirty days after publication changes proposed by the FCC become official and effective.

This means that I would be able to pass the written exams and upgrade my amateur radio license to an Extra class license on the 24th of February. The Snohomish County Hams Club has an exam scheduled for the 24th at 9:30am. So if I crack the whip and get to studying I can take the exam and upgrade to an Extra class license in a month.

Tempting… Very tempting…

For those of my friends who have daughters that might be interested in tech:

LOS ANGELES, CA, Jul 13, 2006--For the third year in a row, a young woman has been named to receive the 2006 Amateur Radio NewslineYoung Ham of the Year Award (YHOTY). Catherine E. Ferry, NC8F -- an 18-year-old from Silver Lake, Ohio -- is this year's winner, Award Administrator Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, and Award Committee Chairman Mark Abramowicz, NT3V, announced this week. Read more on the ARRL website...

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