Amateur Radio Newsline Report #2042, December 16 2016

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Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2042 with a release date of Friday, December 16 2016 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. The FCC's chairman announces he'll resign. An earthquake rocks Indonesia and hams step in. European radio operators put the spotlight on PSK31 -- and amateur radio helps Christmas kick off in Tennessee. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2042 comes your way right now.




PAUL/ANCHOR: We begin this week's report with breaking news. As Amateur Radio Newsline went to production, word came from Washington that the top regulator of communications in the U.S. would resign his post. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, an Obama appointee who championed the net neutrality policy, said his last day would be Jan. 20, the day Donald Trump takes the oath of office. The long-term impact on the agency and its regulations is the subject of speculation: Wheeler's departure leaves a tilted balance with fewer Democratic than Republican commissioners. A spokesman for Democrat Mignon Clyburn said on Thursday, Dec. 15 that her plan is to serve until mid-2017 when her term expires. Liberal Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel's term has ended and she is expected to leave the FCC by Dec. 31.

As president, Trump will appoint Wheeler's successor.

Amateur Radio Newsline will be following these developments as the new administration prepares to take office.




PAUL/ANCHOR: we look now at Indonesia where a powerful quake and aftershocks rocked one region. Hams were ready and they responded. Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Graham Kemp VK4BB with that story.

GRAHAM'S REPORT: A powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 100 in Indonesia and injured hundreds more  drew the response of amateur radio operators following the December 7 quake. As the search went on for survivors amid the rubble, the hams from the Indonesian Amateur Radio Organization stepped in to support  emergency communications.

One of the amateurs, Zainal Abidin YC6FZ was injured following the collapse of his home. He was taken for hospital treatment by a fellow ham, Ismul Huda YB6AG. The communications team was led by Abdullah Ali YB6AA.  They passed emergency traffic on 40 meters and 2 meters FM as search-and-rescue went on and hundreds were escorted to shelters.

Still more work remained to be done: Seventy-four aftershocks had been recorded as late as Sunday morning, December 11th, when two of them measured 3.5 and 5.3 in magnitude.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Graham Kemp VK4BB.



PAUL: The recent wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee were a testament to what can be accomplished when all emergency personnel in a region coordinate and work together.

This includes the amateur radio community, both ARES and RACES. Jim Snyder, AJ4NO was ready when the call came:

JIM: I got first notified on Monday night by the Red Cross asking if we could deploy an amateur radio asset to help in the shelter. So, we sent an operator up to that and he was there sixteen hours which is quite a long period of time...

Gatlinburg is in Sevier County, and usually works with RACES. However, in this case, they also called in surrounding area ARES groups to help. However, they needed the hams less for communications, and more for other duties:

JIM: The call to me came from Lance Coleman, the EMA director of Blunt County. He was organizing the damage assessment for Sevier County. Their EMA director was in Gatlinburg to help with the response, so they used the amateur radio relationships to find people who'd been trained in damage assessment and get them to turn out to help.

PAUL: As we go to air, FEMA officials have so far estimated that the area suffered $500 Million dollars’ worth of damage, and the cost of fighting the fires has topped $5 million dollars. If you would like to help or contribute, please contact the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce.

That was Jim Snyder AJ4NO in Tennessee, recalling radio's emergency response during the treacherous Gatlinburg wildfires.



PAUL/ANCHOR: Emergency readiness also counts when the weather turns challenging. That's why once a year hams recognize SKYWARN operators, who keep everyone on their toes - and hopefully safe - during so-called "weather events." Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Bobby Best WX4ALA, reporting on this year's event held December 3rd.

BOBBY: Amateur radio operators across the nation celebrated SKYWARN Recognition Day. SKYWARN itself was formed on June the 18th, 1971 and the Recognition Day was officially developed in 1999 in a combined effort between the National Weather Service and the ARRL and has been an annual event ever since. A SKYWARN storm spotter like Rex Free KN4CI with the North Alabama & Southern Middle Tennessee SKYWARN Group is just one example of how trained SKYWARN hams can provide crucial "ground truth" reports to The National Weather Service.

REX: "We've got Keith in that area, with eyes on it, we've got Todd headed into the West with eyes on it,
and we've got Dom headed into the South with the eyes on it, we need to get some damage assessments, or get some additional help if we have to."

BOBBY: North Alabama & Southern Middle Tennessee SKYWARN is not the only SKYWARN group that's taken to the air though. To assist The National Weather Service with "ground truth," these Arkansas hams activated their SKYWARN NET just days ago in preparation for this event.

AUDIO FROM NET CONTROL: "In an area between Mullmill and Mayflower, we're starting to see something that looks a little fishy on radar. I want to see if anybody's seeing anything. If you've got anything to report, please keep an eye on that storm and let us know! This is WX0X NET Control."

BOBBY: Without a doubt, hams who participate with active SKYWARN events not only become the National Weather Service's "eyes on the ground" but through their training, they're able to safely relay information that saves lives.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bobby Best WX4ALA in Jasper, Alabama.



PAUL/ANCHOR: How about some PSK31 operation? The European Radio Amateurs' Organization wants you to do more than just think about digital contacts. They want you to get involved, as we hear from Amateur Radio Newsline's John Williams VK4JJW.

JOHN'S REPORT: The European Radio Amateurs' Organization is hosting a party this month and you don't have to bring anything - no champagne, no formal attire, no party gifts. All you need is your willingness to perhaps try something new -- in this case that would be PSK31. The party is on the 17th and 18th of December from 00:00 to 24:00 UTC. The organizers describe it more as a "radio meeting. That means there are no points, no multipliers and there is no competition. This is a QSO event and participants can talk in any language in the digital mode for as long as they wish. It's so informal that even QSL cards are optional.

According to the European organizers, the purpose is to get more hams to use the digital mode and to connect hams around the world via PSK. Be listening on 1.838 MHz, 3.580 MHz, 7.070 MHz, 10.142MHZ, 14.070 MHz, 18.100 MHz, 21.080 MHz, 24.920 MHz and 28.120 MHz.

Listen for the call "CQ EURAO Party." For statistics only, organizers ask participants to send their logs in ADIF format after the event to, using your callsign as the file name. A certificate of participation will be issued for hams who send their logs with at least 10 percent of the QSOs confirmed. The bureau will be availble for members as well as nonmembers for those wishing to exchange QSL cards.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm John Williams VK4JJW




Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the N9EOC repeater of the Central Indiana Amateur Radio Association in Hamilton County, Indiana on Sundays.



PAUL/ANCHOR: When you're young and licensed for only a few short years, can you convince other millennials that cellphones and apps have got nothing on radio when it comes to 2-way communication? Amateur Radio Newsline's Jim Meachen ZL2BHF spoke to someone who's doing just that.

JIM: Andrew Townsend ZL3AJT, a 22-year-old in Christchurch, has found an effective way to communicate OFF the air to get prospective hams ON the air: He has created Young Transmitters New Zealand, a fun, fast-paced website stuffed full of videos, tutorials and encouragement that he hopes will deliver a taste of the amateur experience, beginning with high schoolers.

ANDREW: "That's when human curiosity and experimentation starts to come out a little more. You have people in high school wanting to become engineers and thinking about university. It's time to explore more beyond what's made for them automatically. For me, I am trying to target that age of transition out of the consumption age and into that human nature experience and experimentation age. So I think it's less about a generation and more it's an age bracket."

JIM: While his website site is a pitch to young New Zealanders, it offers rich and relevant radio science information that speaks to any youngster -- or the not-so-young -- around the world.

ANDREW: "While it is focused on the kiwi exam, the content itself is very relevant to what you could find in Australia, the U.S., Canada, Great Britain. It is quite relevant."

JIM: Andrew's own amateur journey began at 16 and grew out of an obsession with small portable VHF/UHF radios. Now radio adventure calls him again.

ANDREW: "I am starting to take a shine now to some High Frequency work. I just recently bought my own all-bander radio and I am really excited because it's the first one I can call my own! I can actually return my dad's, which I stole."

JIM: Interested? One last bit of direction, then, from this young New Zealand ham:

ANDREW: You can find my website at

JIM: That's Andrew Townsend ZL3AJT using the technology of his generation to build radio's next generation. For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jim Meachen ZL2BHF.



PAUL/ANCHOR: In Lebanon, a prominent amateur in the Arabic-speaking community has been recognized for his contributions to amateur radio there. Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Jason Daniels VK2LAW.

JASON'S REPORT: The Radio Amateurs of Lebanon, or RAL, is taking special pride in its president, Hani Raad OD5TE, who has become the latest winner of the Yasme Excellence Award from the California-based Yasme Foundation. The foundation website states that the honor, which includes a plaque and a monetary amount, is conferred on amateurs whose contributions to ham radio are derived through effort, dedication and creativity in areas that include operations, technical aspects or organization. In addition to being licensed in Lebanon, Hani operates in Jordan as JY8HR, Switzerland as HB9ERL and the United States as AA3EI, Extra Class.

Hani is a certified ARRL Chief Examiner and a former vice president of Region 1 of the International Amateur Radio Union. He has provided disaster support to the American Red Cross, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army, among other offices.

Honorees do not apply for these awards, which are given at the board's discretion.

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




PAUL: As hams celebrate the 18th anniversary of the activation of a Slow Scan TV System aboard Russia's now-deorbited MIR Space Station, another SSTV enthusiast - this one in Hawaii - has created a project giving hams a closer look at what the mode can do. We hear details from Amateur Radio Newsline's Stephen Kinford N8WB.

STEPHEN'S REPORT: While Slow Scan TV isn't anything new on the HF bands, Darren Holbrook KH6OWL, an enthusiast in Honolulu, Hawaii, has added something new to the mix: a website that shares some recent Slow Scan TV images sent to him from around the world on 20 meters. It's an online gallery of about a dozen or so pictures and it invites visiting hams to explore this mode of image transmission.

Visit the Amateur Radio Newsline website,, and in our printed script of this newscast, you'll find a link to that web page and its online images.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Stephen Kinford, N8WB in Wadsworth, Ohio.



In the world of DX, Mike VE7ACN has moved from Grenada to Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, operating as VP5/VE7ACN until December 19th. Mike is using CW and operating holiday style. Send QSL cards to his home call.

Matt VK1MA will be using the call sign VK9NM while visiting Norfolk Island from December 19th through the 26th. He will upload logs to Logbook of The World.

Help the Liechtenstein Radio Amateur Society celebrate its 30th anniversary this year by working their special event station HB0AFVL. Hams will be on the air until the end of December and contacts will receive a special QSL card.



PAUL/ANCHOR: We close this week's report with a story of hams giving an annual holiday gift to a Christmas parade in Tennessee: These hams give their best efforts to support the event. Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Mike Askins KE5CXP.

MIKE'S REPORT: It's a Christmas tradition in Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Start marching on East Main Street at Middle Tennessee Boulevard. Strut proudly around the historic square, delighting the crowds that, by some estimates, exceed 50,000 -- who are all eager to see the Murfreesboro Christmas parade.

That was the scene Sunday, December 11th with two former NASA astronauts, the husband-and-wife team of Robert "Hoot" Gibson and Dr. Rhea Seddon, as grand marshals.

There was also an unseen parade that day -- and since the mid-80s that invisible procession has been as much a holiday tradition as this lively, more colorful Christmas display itself: That would be the parade of amateur radio volunteers helping the event run smoothly. This group of behind-the-scenes hams includes members of Rutherford County ARES and the Stones River Amateur Radio Club.

Tom Delker K1KY, of the Stones River club, served as communications coordinator between the two groups, working out of a trailer in the parking area of Middle Tennessee State University. He told WGNS radio that radio's increased use of technology has certainly made crowd and traffic management easier for the hams in recent years but basically it's still hard work.

Like Santa's elves, however, these hams are loyal to the cause of wrapping up and delivering this gift to the community - and already they're clearing their calendars for next year.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Mike Askins KE5CXP.



NEWSCAST CLOSE: With thanks to ABC News; Alan Labs; Antara News; the ARRL; CQ Magazine; Hap Holly and the Rain Report; IARU Region 3; Irish Radio Transmitter Society; Ohio-Penn DX Bulletin; Radio Amateurs of Lebanon; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; the Washington Post; WGNS Radio; Wireless Institute of Australia; WTWW Shortwave; Young Transmitters New Zealand and you our listeners, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline. Please send emails to our address at More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's only official website at

For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Paul Braun WD9GCO in Valparaiso 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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