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Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1588 - January 18, 2008
Saturday, January 19 2008 @ 09:29 pm UTC
Contribuição de: CT1END
Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1588 - January 18, 2008
The following is a Q-S-T.
2 Meter distance records are set down-under, Morse remains a required
skill in parts of I-T-U Region 3, a pirate radio operator is now being
blamed for an international incident in the middle-East and Canada asks
its hams for input on D-X-C-C using remote stations. Find out the
details on Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1588 coming your way
RADIO ERECORDS: VK to ZL ON 2 METERS - TWICE
They are calling it unbelievable down-under. This, as 2 meter distance
records fall one right after another. Graham Kemp, VK4BB, tells us
that the first of these happened as 2007 made its way into the history
Kemp: During the recent 2 meter openings in VK4 Dale VK4DMC worked
ZL1CN located in Wellsford NZ. ZL1CN Murray contacted VK4DMC via
email a few days later and said that the contact was a NZ VHF record
and also the VK/ZL record distance worked. He lodged an application
with the NZART and already this application has been approved and the
ZL records duly amended.
Conditions on the day were excellent. John VK4FNQ played a big part in
alerting Dale the band was open to ZL and Southern VK areas. The
VK4DMC station for 2 meters, IC-7000 into an 11 element yagi 8 meters
above ground running 200 watts. All this on December 29, 144.130 and
distance worked 3549km.
A few days later, it happened again. This time a tape recorder was
running. Again to Graham Kemp, VK4BB
Kemp: Wednesday the 9th there was an opening on 2m from VK5. A little
after 12 noon Brian VK5BC portable at Corny Point heard David ZL1BT in
Auckland calling CQ on 144.1 and completed a contact with him. Several
other VK5's then worked him including Phil VK5AKK, Richard VK5UK,
Andrew VK5DL, Mark VK5EME and Jeff VK5GF. The opening lasted about 1/2
About 1 hour later Brian VK5BC completed a contact with Steve ZL1TWR
in Takitaki over a distance of 3482kms which will probably be a VK5
Actual contact audio here
>From the WIA News in Australia, I'm Graham Kemp, VK4BB, for the Amateur
Its starting to look as if the summer V-H-F DX season in the Southern
hemisphere could be on the best in years. (WIA News)
RADIO RECORDS: Z35M SAYS HE HAS THE QSO RECORD
Still with record setting contacts, a Macedonian radio amateur, has
claimed the largest number of QSO's as a single operator in the 21st
century. Vlado Kovaceski, Z35M has, submitted a proposal to Guinness
World Records to add a new category of the "largest number of contacts
for 5 years in a row." He claims 140,000 QSO's in the period 2001 to
Z35M says that his all-time total since 1984 is a colossal 320,000
contacts. That would likely be a lifetime record unto itself. His best
year was 2001, when he made 43,300 QSO's, which has to be a European
single year record. (GB2RS)
INTERNATIONAL INTREGUE: PIRATE RADIO OPERATOR NOW BLAMED FOR US - IRAN
A pirate radio operator who calls himself the Filipino Monkey is being
blamed for causing a major diplomatic row after American warships
almost attacked Iranian patrol boats on January 6th.
The U-K on-line newspaper the Guardian reports that the illegal
operator -- whom the news service calls a heckling radio ham -- has
been pestering ships in the Persian Gulf for more than a quarter of a
century. According to the Guardian, the pirate operator caused the US
Navy to come within seconds of firing at the Iranian speedboats in the
Strait of Hormuz after hearing threats by radio that the boats were
attacking and were about to explode..
The US Navy's own magazine journal is the Navy Times. It claims that
the threats, which were made public by the Pentagon, are thought to
have come from an infamous Filipino Monkey radio prankster. Unlike the
Guardian the Navy Times did not identify the pirate as being a radio
So who is this Filipino Monkey? The answer may be found in this
description found in the on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia. It says that
the Filipino Monkey is a pseudonym used by radio pranksters in maritime
radio transmissions since at least the 1980s, especially in the Persian
Gulf. These pranksters make odd, confusing, or even threatening calls
on VHF marine channel 16, which is the shipping and maritime
International Emergency Distress Frequency.
EMERGING HAM RADIO TECHNOLOGY: CANADA SAYS DXAC TO LOOK AT REMOTE DXCC
According to a release from Radio Amateurs of Canada, the ARRL's DX
Advisory Committee is currently dealing with questions concerning
remotely operated stations. These are operations where the a
transmitter and receiver may be at a location other than the actual
station operator. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, has more:
With Local remotely controllable ham stations using systems like
Kenwood's Sky Command or home built, a ham station can be one place in
town with the operator at another. Add to this the recent
proliferation of Internet controllable transceivers and it is now at
least theoretically possible to go vicariously on a D-Xpedition to the
remotest part of the world.
All it takes now a days is a high speed Internet connection or
satellite data path along with someone at the remote location to set up
the station. If this is in place a ham with enough financial resources
can literally ship a station out to a wanted D-X spot and make
thousands of contacts from without ever leaving the comfort of his
hamshack or livingroom.
Wanting to stay ahead of the curve, it appears as if the DX Advisory
Committee is tackling this potential change in ham radios operating
paradigm before it becomes a major headache. Among the things being
looked at is the necessity to require that the radio and the operator
be at the same location. Also, whether such operations should even
count for DXCC credit.
Radio Amateurs of Canada is asking its members to provide input on this
issue to its representative to the D-X Advisory Committee. So far no
such request has been made of hams on this side of the U-S and Canadian
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, really
recording live in the Studio, in Los Angeles.
Talk about another way that computers, the Internet and other methods
of remote control are changing the very nature of ham radio operations,
world-wide. (Adapted from RAC news release)
RESTRUCTURING: REGION 3 AND THE MORSE CODE
The W-I-A News reports that a recent ad hoc survey of International
Amateur Radio Union Region 3 member societies has found that a number
of countries still require a Morse code proficiency test for their
higher grade of amateur licenses. These include China, India, Japan,
Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Most have retained a 5 word per minute test
requirement, although Malaysia remains at 12 word per minute exam with
a proposal to drop it to 8.
China has experienced a growth of some 30,000 new radio amateurs in the
past four years. At the moment considers the Morse code tests for its
Class 1and Class 2 licenses are necessary to maintain the more
traditional style of High Frequency Amateur radio operation. The
concern appears to be that new arrivals to the hobby may change its
culture dramatically through their use of new perhaps internet-inspired
vocabulary and style of operating.
Elsewhere in Region 3, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Papua New
Guinea and Singapore are among those who are part of the world-wide
trend to fully abolish the code requirement. This has occurred as a
result of the World Radio Conference 2003 Article 25 change, making
code proficiency no longer be an international mandatory requirement
for access to amateur frequency bands below 30MHz. (WIA News)
RESCUE RADIO: OREGON GIVES $250,000 FOR HAM DIGITAL EMCOMM NETWORK
The ARRL Letter reports that the State of Oregon's Office of Emergency
Management has received $250,000 from Governor Ted Kulongoski's
Strategic Reserve Fund. This, to further develop and enhance a
statewide Amateur Radio digital communications network.
Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ is the ARRL's Oregon Section Manager. She says
that the primary purpose of the Oregon ARES Digital Network is to
provide back-up digital communications capabilities. This, between
county Emergency Operations Centers and Oregon Emergency Management and
other state agencies in Salem, in the event that normal communications
systems fail in an emergency.
This Oregon ARES Digital Network already uses a combination of
different radio equipment and spectrum segments, computers and the
Internet to provide a robust backup communications system in times of
disaster. With its enhancements, all Oregon counties will be able to
communicate directly with the state Office of Emergency Management.
ENFORCEMENT: FORMER HAM WARNED TO STAY OFF THE AIR
The FCC has written to former ham David O. Castle of Evansville,
Indiana, warning him to stay off the air or face dyer consequences. In
a January 9th letter to the ex-WA9JKJI the FCC says that Monitoring
information indicates that he has been operating portable radio
transmitting equipment on Two Meters in order to interfere with a local
linked repeater system on 146.835 and 146.250 MHz. Also that Castle
has provided a portable unit for others to use in the same manner.
The letter to Castle the FCC tells him that he has no authority to
operate Amateur radio transmitting equipment on any frequency. Such
operation is a violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Section 301, and carries criminal penalties
that include fines and time behind prison bars.
If the name David O. Castle sounds familiar it is because he is the
former ham whose license renewal application had been designated for a
hearing on May 24th 2007. In the Hearing Designation Order it was noted
that since 1998, Castle has been warned repeatedly to refrain from
intentionally interfering with radio communications; refrain from
broadcasting without communicating with any particular station; refrain
from causing interference on amateur repeaters; using amateur repeaters
without authorization; and cease using indecent, slanderous, or
harassing language. He had already had his operating hours restricted
and his operating privileges modified.
On August 17th of 2007 Administrative Law Judge Arthur I. Steinberg
issued a Memorandum, Order and Opinion dismissing Castle's request to
renew his Amateur Service license. This after he failed to appear a
pre-hearing conference was held on August 13th in the Commission's
Washington, D. C., offices. He's had no authority to operate a
transmitting device in the Amateur Radio service ever since. (FCC)
ENFORCEMENT: UTAH COMPANY CITED FOR SELLING NON APPROVED TRANSMITTERS
The FCC has issued an official Citation to James Royer and Absolute Toy
Marketing of Orem Utah. This, for marketing unauthorized radio
frequency devices and for failure to respond to an Enforcement Bureau
directive to provide information and documents. Bruce Tennant, K6PZW,
In this case the unauthorized devices are non type accepted broadcast
transmitters. On October 12, and again on October 18, 2007, FCC
personnel say that they observed these item for ale on Absolute Toy
Marketing's HobbyTron.com website.
The FCC says that none of the advertised transmitters appeared to hold
grants of equipment authorization from the Commission. As part of the
investigation, the agency sent a letter of inquiry to the company on
October 22nd requesting, a copy of the grant of equipment authorization
corresponding to each model of FM transmitter marketed on the
That letter also made note of a previously issued Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture that had been issued against Gibson Tech Ed
Inc., which also had done business as HobbyTron.com. That N-A-L was
for willful and repeated violation of this same marketing rule.
On November 15, 2007, Royer responded as President of Absolute Toy
Marketing, Inc., but his response was not supported by an affidavit or
declaration under penalty of perjury, as directed by the FCC. He did
state that Absolute sells electronic kits made in Canada by CanaKit
Corporation and transmitters made in the United States by Ramsey
Electronics and that some kits sold have been assembled for export. As
such these items may be lawfully marketed because customers are
required to fill out a form on which they state that they will export
But in its new January 15 release the FCC says it will not accept this
explanation because it says that it was incomplete. Instead, it
declared that its rules provide that radio frequency devices, such as
the FM transmitters at issue, are subject to certification by the
regulatory agency. It says that after receipt of the citation, if
Absolute Toy Marketing violates the Communications Act or the
Commission's rules in any manner that the Commission may impose
monetary forfeitures not to exceed $11,000 for each violation or each
day of a continuing violation. It does not take a genius to figure out
that could quickly cost Royer and Absolute Toy Marketing a lot of
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, in Los
Royer, Absolute Marketing and HobbyTron.com were given the usual 30
days to respond. (FCC)
RADIO RULES: GOVERNMENT DTV CONVETER SUBSIDY BEGINS
The federal government has taken a major step toward pushing consumers
to make the long-awaited conversion to digital television. Millions of
$40 government coupons have become available to help analog television
owners buy converter boxes for older TVs that will not work after the
switch to digital broadcasting on February 17th, 2009. (Published
RADIO RULES: FCC DISMISSES FAMILY RADIO APPLICATION FOR 26 MHZ
The FCC has said no to a domestic broiadcaster that wanted to try its
hand at Digital Radio Mondiale. Jeff Clark, K8JAC, has more:
The FCC has dismissed an application filed by David Joseph asking for
an experimental license to try out Digital Radio Mondiale broadcasting
at 26 MHz. In a letter to Joseph the FCC said that it was unable to
grant his request because this type of experimental permit cannot be
used to transmit to the general public. The proposed station was to be
used to broadcast from the studios of Family Radio located in Oakland,
I'm Jeff Clark, K8JAC.
Family Radio is one of a number of domestic U-S operations wanting to
use the Digital Radio Mondiale codec on the air. (FCC)
RADIO ACCIDENTS: 2000 FOOT ARKANSAS TOWER FALLS
Investigators are trying to figure out just what caused a 2000 foot
broadcast tower in Redfield, Arkansas to fall. The collapse took KATV
television off the air for much of Friday January 11th until the station
could partially get back on using alternate facilities.
No one was seriously injured when the tower fell but crews working to
strengthen the tower had been just minutes away from climbing it to
replace cable. The tower was 43 years old and was once the 2nd tallest
structure in the world.
Fred Anderson is the KATV Engineering Supervisor. He says that
insurance people are trying to decide the point of failure and if it
was actually mechanical or human error. Meantime the KATV signal is
once again available for cable, Dish Network and Direct TV subscribers.
Its not known if the tower held any ham radio repeater installations.
THE D-STAR REVOLUTION: NEW "HOW TO" VIDEO FROM KN4AQ
Film maker Gary Pearce, KN4AQ has released a DVD of the D-Star seminar
presented by Steve Koone, KA4YMY and Ken Johnson, KC4YOZ. Held
originally for users of the new Charlotte, North Carolina D-Star
repeater and gateway, this session is a valuable tool for anyone just
getting started with the new communications system. Here's a sample of
what you will see and hear:
Actual sound from program courtesy of KN4AQ.
The program runs about 90 minutes, and covers the stuff a new D-Star
users needs to know. This includes such things as programming the
callsign fields, Gateway operation, and much more.
You can also download a preview of the program on-line at www.arvidnews.com It can also be ordered by credit card or PayPal at
the website. For pricing and other information contact Gary Pearce to
HAM HAPPENINGS: HAPPY 75 TO VALLEY ARC OF OREGON
A word of congratulations to the Valley Amateur Radio Club of Oregon on
the 75th anniversary of its 75 years of charter affiliation with the
American Radio Relay League.
And by way of making this truly an affair to remember, club members are
on the air with special event station W7PXL through next November 11th.
If you work the station QSL with a self addressed stamped envelope to
club call trustee Larry Lange, W7JS, at his callbook address. More
information is on-line at www.valleyradioclub.org. (Via e-mail)
NAMES IN THE NEWS: VE1BL NEW RAC MARITIME PROVENCES SM
And congratulations also to Jim Langille, VE1JBL, who begins a two-year
term as Radio Amateurs of Canada's Maritimes Section Manager on March
1st. Langille's nomination was uncontested thus removing the need for a
balloted election. He replaces Hugh Clark, VE9HC, who did not seek re-
THE SOCIAL SCENE: SWL FEST IN PA IN MARCH
The 2008 annual Winter SWL Festival will be held on March 7th and 8th in
the meeting rooms of The Inn at Towamencin in Kulpsville, PA. This is
the largest gathering of listeners to the radio spectrum in the United
States and possibly the world. Some 200 attend each year. The
gathering is sponsored by the North American Shortwave Association. A
printable registration form is available at http://swlfest.com (NASWA)
THE SOCIAL SCENE: 2008 SARL NATIONAL CONVENTION - A FEAST OF AMATEUR
The South Africa Radio League's National convention will be held April
11 to 13th. The weekend will be hosted by the Bloemfontein Amateur Radio
Club and will include a visit to the Boyden Observatory. the Annual
General Meeting and an ARDF demonstration with a T-Hunt There will
also be various technical session covering HF, VHF and that nations
Hamnet emergency response radio service. Festivities will concluded
with a breakfast session on the ZS9X Contest station. More is on-line
at the SARL website. (SARL)
RADIO SCIENCE: NOAA CONFIRMS START OF SOLAR CYCLE 24
Better late than never, the United States National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration has conformed what the rest of the world's
solar scientists reported a week earlier. That being the first sunspot
of a new 11-year cycle has appeared in the sun's northern hemisphere.
Last April an international panel of solar experts forecast that Solar
Cycle 24 would start in March 2008, plus or minus six months. The
frequency of sunspots rises and falls during these cycles, and the
start of a new cycle indicates they are likely to begin increasing. The
panel was split between those predicting it would be a strong or weak
cycle. (Space Environment News)
EMRGING TECHNOLOGY: CREATING MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT COMPUTERS.
A coalition of technology companies and environmental groups led by
Google and Intel Corporation have launched an initiative to conserve
electricity and curb global warming emissions by making the world's
computers and servers more energy-efficient. The Climate Savers
Computing Initiative, organized by Internet giants sets ambitious
industry targets for more energy efficiency of computing gear over the
next four years.
Industry analysts have praised the concept. They estimate that energy-
efficiency technology would initially make computers about $20 more
expensive and servers about $30 costlier, but consumers are expected to
recoup the costs through lower electricity bills and rebates from
If successful, the plan is expected to save the nation more than $5.5
billion in electricity costs by 2010. It would also reduce greenhouse
gas emissions that contribute to climate change by 54 million tons
annually. (Science On_line)
HAM RADIO IN SPACE: STS-122 LAUNCH NIW SET FOR FEB 7
NASA has announced February 7th as its target launch date for shuttle
Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. Lift-off
of Atlantis from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida will be at 2:47
Atlantis' main objective during its STS-122 mission to the station is
to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus
laboratory. This new module will provide scientists around the world
the ability to conduct a variety of experiments in life, physical, and
materials science, Earth observation and solar physics.
The Columbus module also carries two new Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station antennas. This have already been installed
on the side of Columbus.
NASA also hopes to send for the launch of Endeavour on STS-123 by mid-
March. Its mission will deliver the first section of the Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory module, and Dextre,
which is Canada's new robotics system to the space station. (NASA)
WORLDBEAT - SWITZERLAND DRM APPROVED FPR TROPICAL BAND OPERATIONS
Digital Radio Mondiale or DRM has been adopted for use in the so-called
Tropical Bands for domestic shortwave broadcasting. At the last World
Radiocommunicaton Conference in Geneva, attendees officially approved
DRM for use in the broadcasting bands between 3200 and 5900 kHz for
domestic coverage in the "tropical zone" countries.
Since 2002 Digital Radio Mondiale has been endorsed by the ITU for
broadcasting over the world in the long-wave, medium-wave and short-
wave frequencies, with the exception of the "tropical zone" bands. The
tropical zone bands are the frequencies near the lower end of the
shortwave spectrum that are reserved for domestic shortwave and
includes countries located roughly in latitudes between 30 degrees
North and South.
Nations in this zone include Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt,
the Congo, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and many others. Coverage can
range from less than 100 square kilometers using very low power to well
over 1,000,000 square kilometers using powers approaching 100 kW.
This regulatory achievement will likely open up a huge market for the
benefit of the citizens from this part of the world. (Southgate)
CANCELLED DX: MEDICAL EMERGENCY ENDS CARIBBEAN OPERATION PLAN
Get well wishes to a well known D-X operator. The Daily DX reports
that Gregg Marco, W6IZT, who planned to be active from Saint Maarten
and St. Barthelemy this past week, had to cancel because of health
issues. This, after suffering severe abdominal pain, resulting in an
emergency appendectomy. We join everyone else in wishing W6IZT a very
speedy recovery. (Various)
In D-X, word that the VP6DX DXpedition to Ducie Island in the South
Pacific should be on the air from 10th to 28th February. The
multinational team plan to operate on 160 to 6 meters. Ducie Island is
a rarely visited atoll that has been part of the Pitcairn Islands since
And G7CO will be operational through February 2nd from the Island of
Embudu in the Maldives using the call 8Q7AK. He will be using mostly
SSB with a little CW. This, on the 40, 30, 20, 17, 15 and 12 meter
bands. For details of operating times, spot frequencies and QSL
information, please check 8Q7AK on QRZ.COM.
J20MB will be in Djibouti until the end of March. Activity is expected
on 20, 17 and 10 meters using SSB.
F6HMJ portable 6W will operate from Senegal until 29th January. This
operation is scheduled for 80 to 10 meters using SSB and RTTY.
Lastly, the F6KOP Team should be on the air right now from Guinea-
Bissau on Bubaque. They aim to be active on all open bands
simultaneously, with special emphasis on 160 through 40 meters. Full
details of the DXpedition are on the team web site, www.j5c.eu. QSL
all of these operations as directed on the air.
(Above from various DX news sources)
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: HOLLYWOODS HONORARY MAYOR, JOHNNY GRANT, WB6MJV
The changing of the guard in ham radio continues. This with the
passing of the ham radio operator who literally put Hollywood on the
map. Burt Hicks, WB6MQV, knew him and has this report:
Johnny Grant, WB6MJV, best known as the honorary mayor of Hollywood who
traveled the world for more than a half-century as its number one
cheerleader, has died.
>From hosting red carpet Oscar arrivals and presenting the stars with
stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to producing Hollywood's annual
Christmas Parade, Johnny Grant's mission in life was bringing the story
of the real Hollywood to anyone and everyone who would listen. He first
came to Los Angeles in 1943 while in the military and quickly fell in
love with the area. After his military service he returned to carve
out a niche first as a radio and television personality and later as
Hollywood's honorary mayor.
Film maker Dave Bell, W6AQ, knew WB6MJV both socially and
W6AQ: "He absolutely loved Hollywood. Even when Hollywood was in the
dumper and really just awful, Johnny was promoting it anyway. And I
think that single-handedly that Johnny is responsible to a great extent
for the renaissance of Hollywood as seen today, because Hollywood is
As WB6NJV, Johnny Grant came to ham radio late in life. He got his
ticket in 1985 when he was 61 and immediately became a popular figure
on several Los Angeles area repeaters. A broad smile and a hearty
laugh were his trademark and he brought both of them with him to the
W6AQ: "While hie didn't get on the air very much, he was a terrific
promoter. Not only of Hollywood but of ham radio.
"He loved the idea of ham radio and the idea of volunteers helping out
in emergencies and helping to coordinate parades including the
Hollywood Christmas Parade which he ran for years."
Johnny Grant was also a big supporter of the men and women serving in
the United States military. Early on in his career he also joined the
globe trotting Bob Hope as a USO ambassador. On his trips he brought
famous entertainers to perform for those in uniform during the Korean
and Vietnam wars. He had only recently returned from one of these
trips to Guantanamo Bay.
Another of his projects was overseeing the revival of Hollywood Blvd.
For years it had been a favorite tourist destination but had fallen
into decay by the early 1990's. It was Johnny Grant who was at the
point position leading the restoration movement.
A personal note. Johnny Grant would occasionally drop into this
reporters former ham radio store -- Midnight Radio -- in Burbank,
California. On his first visit, and although he was completely
unpretentious, I knew there was something special about him.
After a few seconds of hearing him talk I recognized him as one of the
personalities I had aired on Armed Forces Radio in Thailand. Hr had a
half hour program of music and short interviews.
He just wanted to be WB6MJV to the hams in the area, but to many of us,
he was much more.
Johnny Grant, WB6MJV, passed away on Wednesday, January 9th in his
apartment at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel apparently of natural
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, Im Burt Hicks, WB6MQV, in Los Angeles.
As he might have said it himself, Johnny Grant, WB6MJV, was a very,
very, very -- young -- 84. (ARNewsline and various other sources)
With thanks to Alan Labs, AMSAT, the ARRL, the CGC Communicator, CQ
Magazine, the FCC, the Ohio Penn DX Bulletin, Radio Netherlands, Rain,
the RSGB, the Southgate News and Australia's W-I-A News, that's all
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For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors desk, I'm Don
Wilbanks, AE5DW, saying 73 and we thank you for listening.
Amateur Radio Newsline is Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.