Archive for April, 2008

Peanut, Rooster and Steve N0TU Head Up Mt Herman

Mountaintop radio operating is one my favorite ham radio activities. In particular, there is a 9000 foot mountain within a short drive/hike from my house called Mt Herman. It is a great hike in the summer to get a little exercise and some great views. Lately, I have also been hiking or snowshoeing up there in the winter for the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes. See my blog posting on the 2007 January expedition.

Some time ago, I discovered that Steve N0TU also likes to operate radios from Mt Herman. I lean toward VHF operating while Steve takes along HF QRP. Steve also takes along Peanut and Rooster, his two goats. Lately, he has made a few videos of his adventures with Goat-portable ham radio.
Take a look at the most recent one:

73, Bob K0NR

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FCC Rejects Request for Amateur Frequencies

In the Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm department, Miller Motorsports of Utah requested Special Temporary Authority to use a handful of frequencies in the 70 cm amateur radio band for a race to be held at the end of May. I guess they didn’t think these frequencies were in use, so they just asked the FCC for authorization to use them: 448.525, 448.650, 448.060, 448.290 and 448.610 MHz.

The ARRL objected and the FCC turned down the request, as reported by the ARRL web site.

This story really had me scratching my head. How could someone put together a proposal like this in one of the more popular ham bands? Then it occurred to me that the Amateur Radio Service is authorized to use the 70 cm band on a secondary basis. The primary user is the Federal radiolocation service. (See FCC Part 97.301) It seems that the ham radio community often forgets this…even though we have lots of repeaters and simplex operation on the 440 MHz band, we have a secondary status on the band.

So maybe they looked around and figured that the radiolocation service wasn’t all that active, making these frequencies a good choice for race communciations. Of course, the Miller Motorsports proposal was a poorly formed idea and the FCC made the right call by rejecting it.

73, Bob K0NR

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ON4AW is a Ham Spammer

I recently received an email from ON4AW encouraging me to visit some website of questionable value (something about QSLs, ham radio and art). This was clearly UCE that was sent to a large number of ham radio operators. I replied with a request that my email be removed from the list and I got this reply:

Sir, here is not any list ,so we cannot remove you from something that does not exist. We are finding you with a Google-search and every simple search-machine will find you because you are standing naked and nude on the internet. Up to now 240000 hams from 133 countries have thanked us for that mail. Anyway it would be impossible to find you back among such a number. If you would receive the mail again,there are two possibilities:1) throw it simply into the thrash of your PC , 2) Remove your email from the web,that is the best solution. Your family-members,true friends,hams and business-relations know your email-address. So your presence on the internet is useless and unnecessary

/ 73 ON4AW

PS. Every mail-server has built-in filters. As a last ressort , you could put a filter on our mail so that you will not see it anymore if you eventually would be found again by Google.If you remain with your email-address on the web, you will be found again and you will receive the mail again.We do not see that this happens,because the special search program sends the mails (40 found hams per package) without our knowledge about to whom. Remove youremail-address from the web please. This is the last time that we answer a mail from you .We have told you enough now ,and spent enough time to explain the case.

Jeesh, so now it is MY FREAKING FAULT for having my email address out on the web. Thanks a lot, ON4AW. I get enough of this from the viagra/porn/ambien vendors, now ham radio operators are in on the deal, too?

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ARRL Prevails Against FCC in Court

Just when the Broadband Over Powerline (BPL) drama was getting extremely boring, the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC ruled in favor of the ARRL, which filed suit against the FCC. Back in May 2007, the ARRL filed an appeal concerning the FCC’s sloppy rule making in determining BPL regulations. Today the court ruled that the FCC failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act because they did not disclose all of the documents that they used to make their decisions. It seems that the court concluded that the FCC needed to disclose all of the data available, not just the parts that served their agenda. Also, the court concluded that the FCC did not adequately explain why they chose a 40-dB extrapolation factor (when there was evidence that 20 dB is the right factor).

Read the ARRL story here and the court decision here. This is a signficant loss for the FCC and they have some explaining to do.

Of course, none of this matters since BPL is dying a slow death anyway.

73, Bob K0NR

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What to Do at Dayton?

May is fast approaching, which means it is time for the biggest amateur radio event of the year: the Dayton Hamvention® (May 16-18). I managed to attend last year and had a great time, including meeting astronaut Bill McArthur KC5ACR. So it is time to finalize plans for this year.

What to do at Dayton? Last year, I decided to really focus on the forums, including AMSAT, D-STAR, Frequency Coordination and weak-signal VHF. I’ll repeat that again this year, since there are quite a few interesting forums listed on the Hamvention® web site. The second priority is the vendor displays throughout Hara arena. It is a unique opportunity to see lots of equipment in person, rather than in a catalog. I’ll probably spend some time in the flea market, as you never know when a precious treasure (read: someone else’s junk) is sitting there with my name on it. Years ago, I thought the flea market was the main attraction but lately I don’t have the passion for wandering up and down the aisles for hours on end.
The QRP Amateur Radio Club International seems to think that 3 days of Dayton are just not enough, so they sponsor a fourth day focused on QRP. They call this event Four Days in May (or FDIM). I will probably spend most of Thursday hanging out with the QRPers. (I write the VHF column for the QRP Quarterly, the official publication of QRP ARCI.)
Then there are the banquets….the QRPers, the Contesters, AMSAT/TAPR and weak-signal VHF, just to name a few. Not sure which ones will make the short list this year. Perhaps, I’ll just skip them.
What do you like to do at Dayton?
73, Bob K0NR

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D-STAR Equipment Grant in Colorado

The Colorado Council of Amateur Radio Clubs (CCARC) and Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) teamed up to encourage the adoption of D-STAR technology in Colorado. To date, there are no D-STAR machines on the air in the state so HRO offered to provide equipment to a suitable ham radio group to help get things started. The CCARC, the repeater coordinating body for the state, agreed to assist in the selection process. According to the letter from the CCARC and HRO, the equipment grant was awarded to the Colorado D-STAR Association, a newly-formed group of radio amateurs in Colorado. The donated gear is a “full stack” of ICOM D-STAR repeaters: 2M, 70 cm and 1.2 GHz.

This is a very creative way to get the ball rolling on a new technology for ham radio. Yes, HRO has a vested interest in having a D-STAR machine on the air in the Denver area….they will sell more D-STAR radios. But it is good to see that they coughed up some equipment to help get this going.

The ICOM web page on D-STAR is here. For an overview of D-STAR technology, see my CQ VHF article.

73, Bob K0NR

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