Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1897 - December 20 2013

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Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1897 with a release
date of December 20 2013 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST.  The murderer of ham radio operator
and his wife gets life behind prison bars; UK
telecommunications regulator Ofcom is re-evaluating ham
radio licensing requirements; Myanmar could soon crate an
amateur radio service; the South Africa Radio League
celebrates the life and passing of Nelson Mandela and Santa
comes to Echolink.  All this and more on this Christmas week
edition of Amateur Radio NewslineT report number 1897 coming
your way right now.


(Billboard Cart Here)


**

ENFORCEMENT:  CONVICTED KILLER OF RADIO AMATEUR AND WIFE
GETS LIFE SENTENCE

A federal jury deliberating the sentence for Arizona inmate
John McCluskey failed to reach a unanimous verdict on
Wednesday, December 11th meaning the judge will sentence him
to life in prison for murdering a retired Oklahoma ham radio
operator and his wife.  Amateur Radio Newsline's Norm
Seeley, KI7UP, has more:

--

John McCluskey was convicted of the brutal murder of Gary
Haas, N5VGH, and his wife Linda.  Their bodies were found in
their burned out travel trailer in Santa Rosa, New Mexico on
August 4th, 2010.

During the four-month trial, the defense argued that
McCluskey should not be executed because brain damage, abuse
and addictions made him incapable of controlling his
impulses and making reasoned decisions when he shot the
Haases.  Prosecutors asserted that the only fitting
punishment was to put McCluskey to death because he was a
dangerous and remorseless, cold-blooded killer and a danger
to society.

The victims were making their 11th summer trip to Colorado
when they were killed three days after the prison break
funded by a drug smuggling ring McCluskey allegedly ran in
the prison.  At that time, McCluskey was serving 15 years
for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and
discharge of a firearm when he and two other prisoners
staged a daring escape from a medium-security jail near
Kingman, Arizona.  This with the help of his cousin and
fianc�e Casslyn Welch.

Jurors deliberated for nearly four days before deciding they
couldn't agree on the death sentence making mandatory that
McCluskey serve the rest of his life in prison without the
possibility of parole.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Norm Seeley, KI7UP, in
Scottsdale, Arizona.

--

The Haas family left the courtroom quietly saying that they
didn't want to comment on the jury's decision.  A sentencing
date has yet to be set.  (Published news reports)

**

RADIO TESTING:  NCVEC RELEASES 2014 TO 2018 TECH QUESTION
POOL

The National Conference of Volunteer Examination
Coordinators, better known as the NCVEC has released its new
Element 2, Technician Class, question pool to the public.
The new questions which are the work of the groups Question
Pool Committee take effect on July 1st, 2014 and will remain
valid through June 30, 2018.

A note on the NCVEC website says that Pool files that were
posted on December 10, 2013 have been replaced with
corrected content.  It asks those who visited the site on
December 10th and downloaded files to go back and do it
again.  It notes that following some edits and
corrections the files were re-posted on Thursday, November
12th.

The URL where the questions can be found is tinyurl.com/tech-
questions-2014.  The question pool being used at this time
for administering Technician class tests is valid until June
30, 2014. (NCVEC)

**

RESTRUCTURING:  OFCOM SAYS IT WILL NOT CREATE INCENTIVE
LICENSING

Hams in the United Kingdom need not worry about a form of
incentive licensing being imposed on them.  According to
telecommunications regulator Ofcom, as it reviews that
nations ham radio structure it has no plans for a mandatory
upgrade program that will drive anyone from the hobby as we
hear from RSGB Newsreader Jeremy Boot, G4NJH:

--

During the wide debate about the forthcoming amateur radio
license review to be carried out by Ofcom, several amateurs
have been in touch with the RSGB to express concern that
they will either be required to progress to become Full
licensees or to surrender their Foundation or Intermediate
license and give up the hobby.  In response Ofcom has
provided the following statement:

"It is not Ofcom's intention to discourage people from the
hobby but we want to set up a framework that encourages
those interested in pursuing the technical hobby to stretch
their knowledge and operating skill.

"In our analysis we will be consulting on any changes to the
licensing arrangements but we will be taking into account
the accessibility and diverse interests provided by the
hobby and we won't be designing a regime that leaves or
pushes people out."

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeramy Boot, G4NJH, in
Nottingham, in the UK.

--

That's good news for hams in the UK especially to those
familiar with the Incentive Licensing debacle here in the
United States that took place back in the late 1960's.
While the incentive was to force then current lower class
license holders to upgrade or loose privileges, its effect
was just the opposite.  Many General class operators,
unhappy at having their privileges reduced, decided to drop
out of the hobby rather than upgrade.  As a result overall
growth slowed to a crawl which in turn caused a number of
longtime manufacturers of ham radio gear to either leave the
market and seek greener pastures or simply go out of
business.  (RSGB News, ARNewsline Archive, Wikipedia)

**

WORLDBEAT:  XZ-LAND MAY OPEN UP SOON

There are signs from Myanmar indicating that normalized
Amateur Radio may be returning to that Asian country in the
not so distant future.  This after decades of little
activity.  Amateur Radio Newsline's Stephan Kinford, N8WB,
has the details:

--

Over the years a few foreigners have been heard with Myanmar
XZ callsigns but the activity has not been a fully open
Amateur Radio service.  Even so, this year saw operations
led by JH1AJT, initially as XZ1Z and later as part of a
multi-member team.

A bit earlier, British radio amateur Simon Butterill, G6JFY,
regularly visited Myanmar from Thailand and in May 2012 he
was allowed to sign XZ1K from one of the nation's southern
states.  He mounted a PSK31 operation as XZ1K logging
several hundred QSOs on 10 and 20 meters.

But this past October the country's Posts and
Telecommunications Department, under the Ministry of
Communications and Information Technology, enacted a new
Telecommunications Law for Myanmar.  However there seems to
be little known about what steps are being taken to
reactivate Amateur Radio in that country, or interest from
outside being shown by those who may have some influence
with telecommunications leaders.

So will ham radio return to Myanmar?  Only time and politics
will tell.   That said, things look far more hopeful than
they did only a few short years ago.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Stephen Kinford, N8WB,
reporting

--

Myanmar formerly known as Burma was a British colony gained
its independence in 1948. The government has been under
direct or indirect control of the military since 1962.   In
2011 the ruling military junta was officially dissolved
following a 2010 general election.  At that time a nominally
civilian government was installed, however the military
still retains some amount of influence through
the constitution that was ratified in 2008.  (VK3PC,
Wikipedia)

**

WORLDBEAT:  ZS9MADIBA CELEBRATES THE LIFE OF NELSON MANDELA

ZS9MADIBA is the South African Radio League Special Event
Station commemorating the life and recent passing of Nelson
Mandela, the elder statesman and first democratically-
elected President of the Republic of South Africa.
Affectionately referred to as "Madiba," he became one of the
most recognized world leaders and was instrumental in the
peaceful transition of South Africa from minority rule to a
constitutional democracy.

If you make contact with ZS9MADIBA you can QSL via the
bureau or by sending your card to the South African Radio
League, Post Office Box 1721, Strubensvallei 1735, South
Africa.  Confirmations will also be accepted electronically
via Logbook of the World.  To receive the special QSL card
by mail, please include $1 for postage.

Also, members of the South African Radio League are invited
to apply for time slots to operate ZS9MADIBA from their own
home stations.
(SARL)

**

BREAK 1

Time for you to tell the world of amateur radio who you are.
We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin
stations around the world including the WA7ABU Repeater
serving Willamette Valley, Oregon

(5 sec pause here)


**

RESCUE RADIO:  CHINA OPENS EMERGENCY BROADCAST CENTER

China has taken a big step in creating a national emergency
notification system.  Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill
Pasternak, WA6ITF, reports:

--

China has taken the rescue radio initiative with the
announcement that it has opened a national emergency
broadcast center.  This, as the country speeds up the
construction of a nationwide radio network that will spread
rescue and relief information for disaster hit regions.

The radio service was jointly initiated by China National
Radio working with local radio and TV stations.  It
broadcasts government relief measures and secondary disaster
warnings to those affected using AM radio, satellite
facilities and even loudspeakers where necessary.

The center's official website has also begun operation.  It
will be used to release the latest data on disasters across
the country and providing online rescue and relief guidance.

The plan is considered by China as an important measure for
coping with disasters.  I was reportedly inspired by a
similar but smaller scale radio network that was set up
after a fatal 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Lushan in
southwest China last April.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF,
in the newsroom in Los Angeles.

--

From what is known about China's new emergency alert system
it appears to be based on the "keep it simple" principle so
as to prevent the possibility of failure when it's needed
most. (WIA News, ecns.cn)

**

RADIO RECOGNITION: PLAQUE LISTS AMATEUR RADIO CLUB AMONG
SUPERSTORM SANDY VOLUNTEERS, FIRST RESPONDERS

New York's Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club has earned a
spot on a plaque honoring first responders and other
volunteers who assisted in the wake of the devastating
Superstorm Sandy and the nor'easter that followed in the
fall of 2012.

The town of Babylon on Long Island erected the plaque
earlier this fall in Tanner Park.  This area which faces
Great South Bay on Long Island's south shore and suffered
serious damage from the storms.

The plaque itself reads, "When the Town of Babylon was
struck by Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012, many
residents were exposed to dangerous storm conditions; some
of whom were rescued from their homes.  These brave men and
women were the first to answer the call when their neighbors
needed them the most.  We thank them for their service and
dedicate this plaque to them."

According to club spokesman Bob Myers, K2TV, the recognition
came as a complete surprise to his organization, most of
whom also belong to the local ARES organization.  According
to Myers, club members were only carrying out what they felt
was expected after the many hours of training and emergency
preparedness.  Myers added that having recognition like this
serves as validation that they were doing their job. (ARRL)

**

RESCUE RADIO:  OHIO SCHOOLS APPLY FOR GRANTS FOR RADIO
SYSTEM

Applications covering more than 1,200 Ohio schools have been
submitted for state grants to pay for new emergency radios
that contain entry security features for such buildings.

The school radios manufactured by Motorola were developed by
the states Multi-Agency Radio Communications or MARCS
System.  This is a state-wide system that allows first
responders to easily talk to any agency with MARCS radios.

The design of these radios not only permits two way voice
communications, but also allows a school employee to send an
electronic alert with the push of a button.  Then he or she
can take shelter or help others without speaking and giving
away their presence to an intruder.

The radio system reportedly avoids problems with downed
phone lines or overloaded cellular telephone networks.  More
about this new emergency radio structure is on the web at
tinyurl.com/ohio-school-radio-system
(Times Reporter)

**

ON THE WEB:  NEW HAM RADIO EDUCATIONAL INTEREST VIDEO

There's a new ham radio promotional and educational video
now on the Internet that may be of use to those trying to
interest non hams in joining the fraternity.  Amateur Radio
Newsine's Hal Rodgers, K8CMD, tells us a bit about it:

--

Amateurs interested in spreading the good word about their
hobby now have a new tool. A video entitled "Discovering
Amateur radio" has just been released.

Written and narrated by David Anderson, K1AN, the production
describes an extraordinary technology that in just 100 years
has transformed our lives in, as Anderson says, "the most
amazing ways."

Available in a condensed version as well as a half hour
program, the well-paced video can be viewed on line or used
in group presentations. The producers say it was created for
anyone who wishes to encourage youths and adults to discover
amateur radio.

The production is one of many educational programs
administered under the auspices of UNESCO, the United
Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
through partnership with the World Genesis Foundation.
"Discovering Amateur Radio" is on the project website at
www.radioqrv.com

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Hal Rogers, K8CMD

--

Those who teach Amateur Radio in high school and college
settings might find Discovering Amateur Radio to be very
well suited for showing to their students. This, especially
given the additional reference material included in the
longer half hour minute version.

Once again the website where to find "Discovering Amateur
Radio" is  www.radioqrv.com  (K8CMD, others)

**

RADIO READING:  FIRST NOVEL ABOUT CUBESATS AND PERSONAL
SPACECRAFT PUBLISHED

A Pyramid of Tiny Skulls by Andy Thomas, G0SFJ, is reported
to be the first novel to find inspiration from Cubesats and
the new wave of personal spacecraft such as Sprites.

In, the story a character named Jack Malik, who is an
entrepreneur and nightclub operator, carries a letter from
murdered dancer home to a Russian enclave at Kaliningrad.
There he agrees to collect a secret parcel from Shanghai.
What he brings back will attract the City Leader's
attention, and echo through the Cosmos.

Thomas has dedicated the new book to those whom he describes
as the visionaries of Cubesats and personal spacecraft.
Availability is at www.createspace.com/4548329  (Southgate)

**

HAM HAPPENINGS:  ARRL CENTENNIAL TO INCLUDE REGIONAL EVENTS

If you can't make it to Hartford, Connecticut, for the
ARRL's 2014 Centennial Convention then the League will work
with other ham radio gatherings to bring the convention to
you.  At least in the spirit of the event.

As part of its centennial celebration, the ARRL has
designated six major ham radio gatherings as "Regional ARRL
Centennial Events."  These include the 2014 Orlando
Hamcation in February, the Dayton Hamvention next May, Sea-
Pac in Oregon in June, Ham-Com in Plano Texas also in June;
the Huntsville Hamfest in August and Pacificon in Santa
Clara, California next October.

The concept of regional celebrations was approved when the
ARRL Executive Committee met in Colorado last October.  The
League's Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen developed the
concept as a way to, in effect, take the ARRL Centennial
celebration to the amateur radio community across the United
States.  (ARRL)

**

NAMES IN THE NEWS:  VO1NO NAMED NEW CHAIR OF RAC 0-30 MHZ
COMMITTEE

Some names in the news.  First up is Al Penney, VO1NO who is
the new chair of Radio Amateurs of Canada's Zero to 30 MHz
Band Planning Committee.  Penney was first licensed in 1977
and has been active on all bands from 160 meters through the
microwave bands.  VO1NO replaces previous chair, Jim Fisher,
VE1JF who has retired but will continue to serve the
committee for a time and has pledged his active support to a
successful transition. (RAC, VE3YV)

**

NAMES IN THE NEWS:  VE7AV RECIPIENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
LIFELINE VOLUNTEERS AWARD

Still up North, a Prince George ham radio operators
contributions in emergency radio communications have earned
him a Public Safety Lifeline Volunteers award from British
Columbia Canada's  Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.
 According to a biography provided by the ministry, in
addition to a 35 year radio communications career in the
federal public service, Frank VanderZande, VE7AV has been
teaching amateur radio since 1970.

VanderZandewas first licensed at the age of 14.  During his
ham radio career he has been associated with the Red Cross
as a disaster management emergency response team member
since 2001, and has been the project lead for the Prince
George Amateur Radio Club in the building of its
emergency communication trailer.  This mobile unit is now
used to support search and rescue efforts across northern
British Columbia.
(Prince George Citizen)

**

BREAK 2

This is ham radio news for today's radio amateur.  We are
the Amateur Radio Newsline with links to the world from our
only official website at www.arnewsline.org and being
relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio
amateur:

(5 sec pause here)

**

SOLAR FORECASTING:  SUN'S CURRENT SOLAR ACTIVITY CYCLE IS
WEAKEST IN A CENTURY

Although there have been numerous theories presented by
solar researchers, many have come to the simple conclusion
that Solar Cycle 24 is the most anemic in 100 years.
Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Embee, KB3TZD, has the
details:

--

While our home star the Sun is now at its 11 year solar
maximum it has already been compared with earlier poor solar
maximums including the very weak Solar Cycle 14 in the early
1900's.   That cycle began February 1902 and ending in
August 1913.  The maximum smoothed sunspot number observed
during that cycle was 64.2, and the minimum was 1.5.  There
were a total of approximately 1019 days with no sunspots
during cycle 14.

Leif Svalgaard is a researcher at Stanford University.  On
December 11th he told reporters at the annual meeting of the
American Geophysical Union that none of us alive have ever
seen such a weak cycle, noting that the learning has already
begun.

For example, scientists think they know why the solar
storms that have erupted during Solar Cycle 24 have caused
relatively few problems here on Earth.  They say that the
sun often blasts huge clouds of superheated particles known
as Coronal Mass Ejections into space.  Powerful CME's that
hit Earth squarely can trigger geomagnetic storms, which in
turn can disrupt radio communications.

But such effects have rarely been seen during Solar Cycle
24, even though the total number of Coronal Mass Ejections
hasn't dropped off significantly. The explanation,
researchers say lies in the reduced pressure currently
present in the suns heliosphere.

Nat Gopalswamy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center asserts
that this lower pressure has allowed CME's to expand greatly
as they move through space.  As such Solar Cycle 24 Coronal
Mass Ejections are, on average, 38 percent wider than those
measured during the last cycle.  In other words, less
pressure from these CME's is hitting here on Earth.  And
when the CMEs expand more, the magnetic field inside of them
has lower strength.  So when you have lower-strength
magnetic fields, then they cause milder geomagnetic storms.

Scientists also think they know why relatively few super-
fast solar energetic particles, or have been measured in
Earth's neighborhood during the current cycle, which began
in early 2008.  They say that this has to do with a weakened
interplanetary magnetic field which appears to be another
characteristic of Solar Cycle 24.

Also quite significant is the fact that the polar field was
weak during Solar Cycle 23, so researchers kind of suspected
that Solar Cycle 24 would be similar.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Embee, KB3TZD,
in Berwick, Pennsylvania.

--

Stanford's Leif Svalgaard says that predictions about Solar
Cycle 25 should start coming in two or three years.
(Space.com, Huffington Post, other published news reports)

**

RADIO TECHNOLOGY:  WG2XRS SIGNALS HEARD IN EASTERN USA AND
GERMANY

Signals from WG2XRS, one of the United States based special
experimental transmitting licensed stations for the 75kHz
band, crossed the Atlantic in early December.  This by using
the new Oh-P-65 mode.

Seventeen monitor stations spread across the United States
and Western Europe listened for the transmissions.  The
first transmit period produced a substantial number of
automated signal reports from monitoring points in the
eastern United States.

Across the Atlantic, only one station in Germany managed to
capture the signal.  He heard and decoded it at a distance
of 3,881 miles. As we go to air, these tests are continuing.
(RSGB)

**

RADIO LAW:  VK ANALOG TV GOES AWAY BUT THE 6 METER
RESTRICTION REMAINS

Even as Australia went 100 percent digital television on
December 10th, it does not automatically mean the automatic
return of 50 to 52 MHz to that nations amateur radio
service.

According to Jim Linton, VK3PC, even with the removal from
service of the last analog TV transmitter on Channel 0, the
six meter limitations are listed in the nations License
Conditions Determination on operation of amateur stations in
Australia's eastern states.  As such the restrictions on the
lower end of six meters will remain in force until the
document is changed by the Australia Communications and
Media Authority or ACMA.

The Wireless Institute of Australia has long held that the
50 to 54 MHz band should be returned to and allocated
exclusively for use by that nations amateur service, once
the existing Channel 0 transmitters were removed from
service.  It notes that 6 meters is the so-called 'magic
band' and as such is important to radio amateurs because it
provides unique opportunities for ham radio operators to
conduct various forms of propagation experimentation.
(VK3PC)

**

PROPAGATION:  SOUTH AFRICAN 60 METER PROPAGATION BEACON

South Africa's Kempton Park Amateur Radio Technical Society
currently has an operational 60 meter propagation study
beacon transmitting on 5 dot 250 MHz using the call ZS6KTS.
The beacon transmits at 5 minute intervals with PSK31 as the
preferred mode.  Please visit the clubs website
at www.zs6kts.co.za for more detailed information regarding
the beacons operation.  (SARL)

**

DX

In DX, the K9W Wake Atoll DXpedition reports that it logged
slightly over 100,000 contacts from 186 discrete DXCC
entities during its November operation.  This DXpedition was
dedicated to preserving the memory of the Forgotten 98 which
was a group of civilian contractors who lost their lives on
Wake Island on October 7, 1943 during World War II.

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the current T6TM operation
from Afghanistan for DXCC credit.  If your request for this
operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact
ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on
the list for an update to your record.  His e-mail is bmoore
(at) ARRL dot org.

PA0RRS will once again be active as 9M2MRS from Penang
Island.  This between December 31st and February 3rd.  His
operation will be on 40 through 10 meters using CW, RTTY and
PSK.  QSL via his home call.

Oh-E4AAC will once again be active stroke 3B9 from Rodriguez
Island from  February 10th to the 18th.  His operation will
be holiday style on 40 through 10 meters on CW only. QSL via
his home call.

BA4DW is expected to be operational as E51CDW during a
holiday style operation from Rarotonga Island between
January 21st and the 27th.  He tells the Ohio-Penn DX
newsletter that his activity will be on the major High
Frequency bands using CW and SSB.  QSL via BA4DW.

Lastly, a group of six operators from the UK will operate as
TX6G from the Island of Raivavae in the Australs Islands
between March 20th and April 1st.  A website will be
launched with further details once the other details are
confirmed.

**

THAT FINAL ITEM:  CHRISTMAS EVE SANTA WATCH COMES TO
ECHOLINK

And faunally this week, we have not heard much from radio
clubs that are sponsoring pre-Christmas talk to Santa Clause
nets or similar type events.  We are sure that there are
some out there but one we have found is rather unique
because it combines both ham radio and the Internet.  Here's
Amateur Radio Newsline's Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK:

--

Starting Christmas Eve at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time,
Dave Vowell, N3NTV, will be hosting the Santa Watch Net on
the DoDropIn conference server at node 355800.  This is the
same Echolink server node that hosts numerous ham radio
social events including the Sunday night Broadcasters Net
out of New York City and the Wednesday evening Ham Nation
post show gathering.

N3NTV will be keeping track of and announcing Santa's
location.  He will also be taking check-ins from the
youngsters via the magic of the Internet and Amateur Radio.

So please do drop in to the DoDropIn Santa Watch Net with
your kids, grandkids or your neighbors with their youngsters
and find out where Santa Clause is.  And you never know:
Santa himself may just might be a ham and could check in
"reindeer mobile" from his high flying sleigh.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Cheryl Lased, K9BIK,
already with lots of holiday snow already here in Zion,
Illinois.

--

Once again that's the Santa Watch Net on the DoDropIn
conference server at node 355800 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern
Standard Time on Christmas Eve.
(W8WFO)

**

NEWSCAST CLOSE

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, TWiT-TV and Australia's W-I-A News, that's all from
the Amateur Radio NewslineT.  Our e-mail address is newsline
(at) arnewsline (dot) org.  More information is available at
Amateur Radio Newsline'sT only official website located at
www.arnewsline.org.  You can also write to us or support us
at Amateur Radio NewslineT, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa
Clarita California, 91350

Before we sign off, a reminder that the Dayton Amateur Radio
Association is soliciting nominations for its Hamvention
awards.  This includes the Amateur of the Year, Special
Achievement, Technical Excellence and Club of the Year.
Nominations must be received by January 17, 2014. For more
information, visit tinyurl.com/hamvention-awards-2014.

For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors' desk,
I'm Skeeter Nash, N5ASH, near Houston Texas wishing you a
very Happy Holiday season and as always, we thank you for
listening.

Amateur Radio Newsline™ is Copyright 2013.  All rights
reserved.

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