Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2039, November 25 2016

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Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2039 with a release date of Friday, November 25 2016 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. More mysterious radio signals plague amateurs in India. One ham in New Zealand gives us details on the recent earthquake. Pennsylvania hams invite QSOs for every county -- and amateurs in the Philippines mark 84 years on the air. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2039 comes your way right now.

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BILLBOARD CART

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MORE SUSPICIOUS RADIO SIGNALS TROUBLE INDIA

NEIL/ANCHOR: We open this week's newscast with yet another report from India about suspicious radio transmissions. These originate off the nation's west coast by the Arabian Sea. Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Jeremy Boot G4NJH with more details.

JEREMY'S REPORT: Even as radio operators in West Bengal attempt to track mysterious nighttime radio signals, there comes a more recent report that hams in Mumbai have been picking up signals on VHF just off the coasts of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Ankur Puranik VU2AXN of Ham Radio Operators Mumbai said he has written to the Ministry of Telecommunications and IT as well as other officials - including law enforcement - pressing for an investigation. Ankur said that his club's direction-finding equipment placed the signals about 100 nautical miles into the ocean off the coast. The transmissions have been heard for the past few months, he said -- and most of the time at night. He described the signals as being in an unintelligible language and devoid of the required identifying call signs.

He was quoted in the Mumbai Mirror as saying: [QUOTE] "We believe that they are using open-band wireless sets which can tune in to or transmit in any frequency in the VHF band between 136-174MHz. Some of these frequencies may be falling in the bands used by the Indian government and security agencies." [ENDQUOTE]

The Mumbai hams are not the only radio operators in India to be concerned about unidentifiable transmissions. In October, hams in south Bengal revealed they had begun monitoring unauthorized VHF transmissions sent at night along the Bengal-Bangladesh border, with an eye toward tracking possible terror cells.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

(MUMBAI MIRROR)


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IN NEW ZEALAND QUAKE, RADIO AMID THE RUBBLE

NEIL/ANCHOR: As the northeastern corner of New Zealand's South Island tries to clear out from this month's major earthquake, one local amateur has taken stock of his opportunity to help -- not just in that moment, but in the future. Amateur Radio Newsline's Jim Meachen ZL2BHF tells us more.

JIM: On holiday in Waiau at the time a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand on Monday, the 14th of November, Daniel Ayers ZL1DFA found himself a few miles from its epicenter. With roads impassable,  utilities not functioning and conventional communications useless, no amateur radio assistance was called in. Being there already with his handheld radio, Daniel was among the few who could get involved immediately in that rural region, first by finding out what had happened and then to step in and help.

DANIEL: "At that stage I only had a handheld radio with me. But fortunately it had a reasonably good antenna so I was able to get into an amateur repeater called 6975, a VHF repeater on 146.975 megahertz, which was some distance away but I was able to get in there and talk to people in Christchurch and the wider area around the northern part of the south island and they told me straightaway that we'd just had a direct hit."

JIM: Even after Civilian AM radio brought news reports in, the Civil Defense district's VHF repeater network failed for several hours, so it was tough getting word out until later. Limited road access eventually allowed Daniel to retrieve his SUV which is equipped with mobile ham equipment.

DANIEL: "I was able to scoot out into Christchurch and swap the car I was driving for my SUV which was fitted out for emergency communications on HF and VHF and had everything necessary to be ready to go to talk to anybody. I took that vehicle back into Waiau and using that I was able to participate more fully in providing some communications."

JIM: Daniel also worked for hours using the Civil Defense system and equipment before being asked to switch to his own amateur radios to help the New Zealand fire service pass messages to their regional office in Christchurch, 100 miles away.

DANIEL: "What I found that was very interesting is that the quote/unquote amateur VHF networks were more reliable in this instance - and this was not the only instance where we have seen this in this part of the country. The amateur infrastructure was more reliable than the radio communications infrastructure for Civil Defense."

JIM: The next challenge, Daniel said, is not just preparing for the next quake that is surely to come, or the series of inevitable aftershocks, but finding a way for radio amateurs to establish a system of response on HF that will help this rural nation more reliably.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jim Meachen  ZL2BHF.

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A NEW SUMMIT-TO-SUMMIT SUCCESS

NEIL/ANCHOR: There have been new heights of success in the latest Summit-to-Summit Event as we hear from Amateur Radio Newsline's Ed Durrant DD5LP, who was part of that activation.

ED'S REPORT: The Summits on the Air "Summit to Summit" event between Europe and North America on Saturday the 19th of November was a great success. Despite cold and rainy weather across several parts of Europe, band conditions being average and interference from contestants in the LZ-DX contest, all activators who were out reported a successful and enjoyable day.

Some stations racked up multiple S2S (Summit to Summit) contacts across the three continents involved -- as well as Europe and North America – there was one activator on holiday in the Canary Islands, which counts geographically as Africa. The event was also an opportunity for others to try out new rigs and other equipment, especially antennas. Several activators had their first-ever inter-continental summit to summit contact and were really happy about that. Others went in small teams and enjoyed working together. Some had tents to protect them from the weather. Others were really lucky with the weather, while others got soaked.
Three bands were used for inter-continental contacts – 21, 18 and 14MHz. Most contacts were made on 20 metres; however those with multiple band capability moved away from the contest traffic on 20 metres to the more peaceful 17 and 15 metres. The consensus seems to be that from a propagation point of view 17 metres was the best; however inter-continental QSOs were made on all three bands.

We even have some reports of chasers from VK catching some of the EU activators via short path in the very early hours of the Australian Sunday morning!
Sixty-six summits had been announced, but 77 were actually activated, an increase on the 51 summits alerted and 73 stations taking part in the VK-EU event a month earlier.

It'll be interesting to see what the numbers are for the North America-VK event. This may only now take place in 2017 when the weather in the Northern Hemisphere improves.
The general feeling around the SOTA community is that having these S2S events is both enjoyable and useful and many are looking forward to more of them.

For Amateur Radio Newsline this is Ed Durrant DD5LP.


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BREAK HERE:

Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around such as the Mingus Mountain Repeater Group, K7MRG, in Arizona, on Tuesday evenings.

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WEATHER OR NOT, HERE COMES THE BALLOON

NEIL: On November 13th, STEM School and Academy senior Madisen Frie (FREE), KE0KCM, led a team that launched a high-altitude balloon from Deer Trail, Colorado. These balloon projects are all the rage across the country as a hands-on way to introduce students to principles of science and technology. But what made this launch different from their previous ones is that the entire project was engineered by students. This first launch in a continuing series accomplished its goal… to launch, track, and safely return. Madisen explains how she organized the students to complete the project.

MADISEN: We had the tracking group, the payload group, and then another group, which was my group, which was just to make sure… to oversee everything.  So for the tracking group they came up with a few different methods to track it such as the fox as well as the APRS unit. Those are the two that we ended up using. They also came up with other things not used such as an altitude-sensitive cold smoke bomb kind of thing where it would just set off signals so we actually could see it come down, as well as a noise emitter so we could hear it in case it got too dark to actually see the smoke or the APRS unit cut out, which it had been for a little bit before. As for the payload group, they took one of our old payloads and modified it so that it could hold three GoPro cameras and be able to take them up to 100,000 feet and come back down without them freezing.

NEIL: Madisen passed her amateur radio license exam this summer, after participating in 4 prior launches. Madisen shared her motivation to finally get her license.

MADISEN: What initially got me interested in getting my radio license is Skylar, who is KD0WHB. He just told me all of these benefits that he could get from having his radio license.  And honestly, I kind of felt left out when we were tracking all the weather balloons cause everyone had their radios and I thought that was so cool that they could talk to each other like they did.

NEIL: Adult amateur radio mentors included Toby Foss, K0TFS, and for the last time at STEM Academy veteran teacher Paul Veal, N0AH.  

The balloon carried a little over 4 pounds of equipment, traveled to a height of 90,437 feet, and endured temperatures as low as -50 to -100 degrees Fahrenheit.  The students were able to track and find the balloon after it fell over 17 miles back to Earth.  Now they await their next launch with some data gathering payloads and some other projects.

MADISEN: We do have some stuff planned. We are going to try to bounce a radio signal off the moon as well as listen to Saturn. So we’re getting into more of the space portion. I personally still have a lot to learn about radios, but I look forward to it for sure.


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KEYING IN ON THE KEYSTONE STATE

NEIL: The Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club in Pennsylvania, known for its popular "13 Colonies Event" around July 4,  is posing another radio challenge -- just because it wants to. Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Embee KB3TZD.

HEATHER: What has an estimated 46,000 square miles, a noted colonial history and 67 counties full of radio operators looking to help hams around the world earn a certificate of distinction? That would be Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, the 33rd largest state in the U.S.

It's also home to the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club, which is hosting the "Pennsylvania 67 Challenge," inviting hams everywhere to have a realtime QSO - amateur to amateur - in every county in any two-way radio mode; including moonbounce, IRLP, EchoLink, amateur satellites, and even D-Star FM repeaters.

If you can't work all the counties, don't be discouraged: Challenge certificates are also available for hams who work 20, 40, or 60 counties. For information on how to qualify for certificates or how to get your contacts verified, visit the club's website at www-dot-H-A-R-C-dot-net or email the club at W-M-3-P-E-N at A-R-R-L dot net.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Embee KB3TZD in Berwick, Pennsylvania - in Columbia County, one of those places in the 67 challenge!

(HOLMESBURG AMATEUR RADIO CLUB)

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SCOUTS WRAP UP JAMBOREE ON THE AIR

NEIL: Some proud Scouts and supporters just finished their final report for this year's Jamboree on the Air. They shared the good news with Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill Stearns NE4RD -- who shares it with us.

BILL'S REPORT: This week in Radio Scouting we wrap up the final report for Jamboree on the Air with comments from participating stations.

Paul Griffith, KE5WMA, stated "Setting up at a Scout event gave us better results than previous years." 

Benjamin Kuo, KK6FUT, told us: "We've found that by stretching our reach to three events each year – one around JOTA in October, another in June during Field Day, and one during the annual Camporee, usually in April, the overall result has been a lot more exposure of amateur radio to the scouting community at large."

The Yadkin Valley Amateur Radio Club, KE4YVF, reported "We need slick pre-event handouts to stimulate interest at district, council, and unit meetings!"

These comments and more can be found in our 2016 JOTA Report. In response to Benjamin, on our website in the JOTA resources there is a Scouting Event Publicity Guide published by Bill Ragsdale, K6KN.  This free and informative guide will help you get the message out about your next radio scouting event. For the YVARC, there are brochures, as well, highlighting radio scouting for any event you wish to plan.

For this and more information on K2BSA and  Radio Scouting, please visit www.k2bsa.net.

For Amateur Radio Newsline and the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association, this is Bill Stearns, NE4RD


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THREE NEW EMERGENCY ALERT EVENT CODES

NEIL/ANCHOR: Changes are coming to the nation's Emergency Alert System and they'll be in place for next year's hurricane season. Amateur Radio Newsline's Bobby Best WX4ALA tells us more.

BOBBY'S REPORT: The Emergency Alert System, the national public warning system used during dangerous weather and in other crisis situations, has gotten FCC approval to add three new "event codes" for the 2017 hurricane season. The codes are EWW, for Extreme Wind Warning, issued for advance notice of winds 115 miles an hour or greater during major hurricanes; Storm Surge Watch, or SSA, for use when the East Coast and Gulf Coasts experience riding water moving inland. This could be used in tropical, subtropical or post-tropical cyclones.

The third is SSW, or Storm Surge Warning when the tropical inundation is going to happen within 36 hours, and possibly isolate an area. The weather conditions could include storm-force winds that limit time to safely evacuate an area.

The new codes will affect the Emergency Alert System as well as NOAA Weather Radio.

The FCC is requiring that EAS equipment makers provide software upgrades to participants in the Emergency Alert System by March 12, 2017.

For more details about the changes in the codes, visit nhc.noaa.gov

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bobby Best WX4ALA


(ARRL, NOAA)

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PHILIPPINE AMATEURS MARK 84 YEARS

NEIL/ANCHOR: It's not your typical 84th birthday party but it's bound to be festive in any case: The Philippine Amateur Radio Association is marking eight decades and more. We hear the details from Amateur Radio Newsline's Jason Daniels VK2LAW.

JASON's REPORT: The Philippine Amateur Radio Association is marking its 84th anniversary on the 27th of November at the Marikina Hotel and Convention Center in Marikina City. The full day of activities will include VE testing, fox hunting, a CW challenge for experts as well as students, and a contest for the best Go-Kit. PARA's forerunner organization, the Amateur Radio Club of the Philippines, was organized in 1922 and was merged, two years later, into the Philippine Radio Society. On November 27th of 1932, the Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) was organized and admitted into the International Amateur Radio Union. Its founding president was Leon V. Grove, KA1LG, who was then the Principal of the Philippine School of Arts and Trade. The 84th anniversary program will also set aside time to honor members of HERO who assisted during October Typhoons Karen and Lawin. Lawin was considered the strongest cyclone to hit the Philippines in three years.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jason Daniels, VK2LAW.

(PARA)

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THE WORLD OF DX


In the world of DX, listen for Alan K0AV operating as ZD8V from Ascension Island until December 1st. Alan is operating most of the time on CW. Send QSL cards via his home call. Logs will be uploaded to LoTW.

Find Mike AJ9C operating as HR2/AJ9C from Honduras until November 30. Be listening on all HF bands from 160m to 10m. He is operating on CW, SSB and RTTY. Send QSL cards to his home call.

Christian IS0BWM can be heard from the club station 9H0HQ/3 in Kenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He plans to stay in the Congo until Christmas Day, December 25th. Send QSL cards directly to his address in Sardinia.


(IRISH RADIO TRANSMITTERS SOCIETY)

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KICKER: NO PLACE LIKE HARA FOR THE HOLIDAYS

NEIL: Our last story, in keeping with the Thanksgiving holiday, is about gratitude. For more than 50 years, amateur radio operators were grateful for the spring ritual of Dayton Hamvention, which was held in Hara Arena in Trotwood, Ohio. Now the arena has been shut down and the massive global gathering of amateurs has found a new home at the Greene County Fairgrounds starting in 2017. Pieces of arena history - especially keepsakes of Hamvention history - are being auctioned off online.

The online auctioneer, Everything But The House, began accepting bids on Thanksgiving Day, the 24th of November and the auction concludes Wednesday the 30th of November. No doubt there will be many among the tens of thousands of radio amateurs - two generations of visitors - wanting something by which to remember Hamvention's longtime home.

For many hams, though this will simply be a harvest of memories, some of them precious indeed. Although bidding on all items starts at $1, nostalgia is actually beyond any price. It's easy enough just to own Hara memories themselves: They're bought easily with gratitude for the good years and the friendships that flourished under that roof -- and all of that knows no season.


(DAYTON DAILY NEWS, ARRL)


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NEWSCAST CLOSE: With thanks to Alan Labs; the ARRL; Boston Globe; Boston Business Journal; CQ Magazine; Dayton Daily News; Hap Holly and the Rain Report; Irish Radio Transmitter Society; K2BSA; the Mumbai Mirror; NOAA; Ohio-Penn DX Bulletin; PARA; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; Wireless Institute of Australia; WTWW Shortwave; and you our listeners, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline. Please send emails to our address at newsline@arnewsline.org. More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's only official website located at www.arnewsline.org.

For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Neil Rapp, WB9VPG in Bloomington Indiana saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.

Amateur Radio Newsline(tm) is Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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