Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2061 for Friday, April 28, 2017

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Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2061 with a release date of Friday, April 28 2017 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. Hams in the UK take on the rising noise floor. There's a repeater group in Canada that's gone international. And an Indiana high school launches a balloon project. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2061 comes your way right now.


STEPHEN/ANCHOR: We open this week's newscast with word that in the global battle against the rising noise floor, amateurs in the UK are ramping up their own efforts against QRM. With those details is Amateur Radio Newsline's Ed Durrant DD5LP.

ED'S REPORT: There's more than just a little bit of noise being generated in the UK lately about QRM. Just as the Radio Society of Great Britain is taking Ofcom to task over the regulator's handling of complaints about man-made interference on the radio spectrum, hams, short-wave listeners, CB radio enthusiasts and others are working together to save the bands' quality. The website, u-k-q-r-m dot O-R-G dot U-K, hosts the organisers' campaign urging radio enthusiasts to reach out, most especially in these weeks before the UK's June 8th. general election and have candidates to commit to solving the problem - even if it means dissolving Ofcom and replacing it with a new regulator.

In the meantime, the website also advises all radio operators to contact Ofcom with their noise issues once they have determined the QRM is caused by something not on their property.

The UKQRM website also shares ways to help track down the QRM's source and report it. The rising noise floor on the bands has gained attention in numerous other countries too - most recently in South Africa where the South African Radio League held a study group in late April to formulate a strategy against excessive QRM.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Ed Durrant DD5LP




STEPHEN/ANCHOR: In India, where mountaineering and amateur radio are starting to converge for reasons of navigation and safety, one club is helping adventurers sort out the important business of antennas. Amateur Radio Newsline's Jason Daniels VK2LAW has those details.

JASON: Mountaineer Chanda Gayen became the third woman from West Bengal to successfully scale Mount Everest in 2013. The following year, she and her two Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche at an altitude of more than 26,200 feet on Mount Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain in the Himalayas.

Members of the West Bengal Amateur Radio Club have not forgotten this tragedy, particularly now that the club reports that its membership has been expanding thanks to mountaineers who hope to learn how to use radio when disasters like this happen. With this in mind, the club recently hosted its first antenna workshop in cooperation with the National Institute of Amateur Radio, coinciding with World Amateur Radio Day on April 18th.

The 46 participants not only learned about the design of four-element VHF Yagi antennas but built them with an eye toward using them with a handheld transceiver on 2 meters. Workshop leaders Ambarish Nag Biswas VU2JFA and Samar Kumar Biswas VU3ZHN both said the antenna and radio combination will provide vital tools for rescue work whether on a summit or any other place where people can get lost.

Organizers said these antennas, which can be used well in foxhunting, are especially useful in finding distress signals.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Jason Daniels VK2LAW



STEPHEN/ANCHOR: In Indiana, one ham helped some high school students keep close tabs on their balloon project. We hear more from Amateur Radio Newsline's Paul Braun WD9GCO.

PAUL: It’s always encouraging when the youth of today express an interest in amateur radio. Recently, a group of twelve high school students in Hobart, Indiana really dug in with a project suggested by their teacher, Brent Vermeulen, assisted by local ham Mark Skowronski, K-9-M-Q. I spoke with both gentlemen about the project:

BRENT: I'm a high school engineering and technology teacher at Hobart High School in Hobart, Indiana, and I do a lot of pre-engineering and technology. I do a lot of software work but mainly my biggest focus is problem solving and I like to teach students how to be problem-solvers.

I ran across another teacher on the East Coast that had done this high-altitude balloon project. The following year I just said, "You know what? Let's just go for it. I think my students can do it and what better way to be a problem solver than to really go big!”

PAUL: I asked Vermeulen how he got Skowronski involved with his class:

BRENT: Sending this high-altitude balloon to one hundred thousand feet, we wanted to record the whole trip, we wanted to get a lot of data, but one of the biggest hurdles is "how do we track this thing?"

So we set out, and while I already knew a few answers, I really tried to motivate my students to really do some research and find out different ways to track not only through GPS, which is the first thing people think of, and one of the students ended up coming across amateur radio and ways that you can maybe put that online. I knew about that and I was excited when they came across it. So then we set out to say we needed to get in contact with someone with a license and found out there was a Lake County Amateur Radio Club. Mark responded back to me and he came and spoke to my class.

PAUL: Skowronski did some advance planning before his presentation:

MARK:  I wanted to find out what they wanted to do as a class, what their expectations were. Did they need stuff built? Were they ready to go buy stuff that was off-the-shelf, when they wanted to do all this stuff?

Once I did that Brent asked me to come in and talk about exactly what amateur radio was - most of the kids didn’t know that - and then specifically how packet radio and APRS plays a role in the recovery of this balloon and I was able to do a kind of demonstration since they’d purchased some equipment for APRS so we were able to show exactly how it would work.

PAUL: I asked Skowronski what equipment had been installed in the experiment’s capsule:

MARK: The amateur radio portion of the project involved a 2-meter APRS transmitter. We used a Bionics all-in-one transmitter and it had a built-in TNC and GPS unit, and it put out about one watt. We used the DMR network here in Indiana with all the various repeaters on the Indiana Statewide talkgroup to kind of coordinate everyone who was helping with recovering the balloon.

PAUL: Hobart is approximately 50 miles Southeast of Chicago. I asked Vermeulen how far the balloon ended up traveling:

BRENT: It went South-Southeast to Kokomo, Indiana, so, about 140 miles.

PAUL: The team also installed APRS tracking equipment in the chase vehicle so people could follow THEM as they followed the balloon. The class declared the project a success.

If you’d like to find out more about the project for your own group, or would like to help with the next launch, please contact us via and we will pass it along to Mr. Vermeulen.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Paul Braun, WD9GCO



STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Speaking of getting youngsters involved, the deadline approaches for nominations for the Amateur Radio Newsline Bill Pasternak Memorial Young Ham of the Year Award. Nominations are open to licensed hams 18 or younger who reside in the United States, its possessions or any Canadian province. Find application forms on our website at under the "YHOTY" tab. The award will be presented on August 19th at the Huntsville Hamfest in Alabama. Nominations close May 31 -- there's barely a month to go! While you're at it, be sure to catch the May 2 webcast of the W5KUB Amateur Radio Roundtable. Host Tom Medlin will be talking with Amateur Radio Newsline's Don Wilbanks AE5DW about the Young Ham of the Year award. You may just be inspired to fill out that nomination form right away.



Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world, including the Stephens County Amateur Radio Society, N4DME repeater, in Toccoa, Georgia Tuesday nights at 8PM.



STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Kit-building is growing in popularity and some hams in Scotland are doing their part to help. We hear more from Amateur Radio Newsline's Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

JEREMY: Ham radio is what you make it -- and nowadays there are plenty of enthusiasts making it - making their radios, making their antennas and making other electronics for their shacks. To encourage kit-building with confidence, especially among young people, is hosting a group kit-building event and micro:bit showcase for young enthusiasts. They are looking for volunteers from the amateur radio community to assist with the hands-on instruction. The workshop will be held on the 7th of May at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow.

If you can volunteer, you will be assisting with the building of a BBC micro:bit Morse Code transceiver or the creation of another simple electronics project.

If you are the parent or guardian of a young enthusiast looking to build the love of the hobby while building something real and useful, contact

The program is supported by the micro:bit Educational Foundation and the Radio Society of Great Britain.

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




STEPHEN/ANCHOR: A wide-ranging system of repeaters in Canada has grown from simple beginnings in one province to international importance. It's even used across the border with the U.S. We hear again from Amateur Radio Newsline's Neil Rapp WB9VPG.

NEIL: The International Repeater Group in New Brunswick, Canada is a collection of 25 repeaters that serve the entire province, as well as many parts of Maine in the United States. It's a secured system divided into zones, and has hard-linked repeaters. It all began with one ham 43 years ago.

FRANCIS: It has grown now to a system of 25 repeaters that can be linked across the province of New Brunswick. They are accessible throughout New Brunswick; also from amateurs on the in the state of Maine, Nova Scotia, and PEI; and over in the province of Québec as well there in the Gaspe peninsula because they can reach into the northern repeaters and join us.

NEIL: The repeater network is a success in part due to the financial and technical support of the Emergency Measures Organization of New Brunswick and CANWARN in addition to the group's members. While EMCOMM training and various nets make use of the system, one of the more vital functions is the weather net that operates daily, November through April.

FRANCIS: Our net controller Rick, VE9MTB, does a great job. He collects all the data from stations across New Brunswick and in northeastern Maine where the St. John River starts, because we do have a flooding issue along the St. John River and Rick collects all of the data seven days a week, sends it into Environment and Climate Change Canada which helps the forecasters keep an eye on the snowpack and how fast melting is going on in various regions and how much water is gonna be coming down the streams with the potential of provincial flooding on some of our tributaries.

NEIL: The operators take the "I" for "INTERNATIONAL" very seriously and literally.

FRANCIS: We have a tremendous, good working relationship, not only in amateur radio - but it can be fire department, mutual aid agreements, you name it - along the Canada/US border. As far as we're concerned, that border is just an imaginary line, because we're gonna back each other up no matter what. It's fantastic! Boat ways, you know, we'll help our friends in the state of Maine, and just like they will come over and help us here. And you know, thank God for this neighborly stuff because there are many times, you know, we've depended on each other.

NEIL: You can see the map and other information at their website

Reporting for Amateur Radio Newsline, this is Neil Rapp WB9VPG.




STEPHEN/ANCHOR: If you enjoy any number of nets and you're starting to discover the excitement of DSTAR, here's another option for you starting in May. Here are the details from Jack Prindle AB4WS, who filed this report for Amateur News Weekly.

JACK PRINDLE: Mark your calendars, the Kentucky DSTAR Net on Reflector 56 Bravo is returning starting on May 4, 2017 every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Eastern Time thanks to the work of Ray KI4BM and Larry NN4H. Hope to hear you on DSTAR Reflector 56 Bravo Thursdays at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Pass it on! Covering your amateur radio news in the Greater Cincinnati area and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this is Jack Prindle AB4WS in Big Bone, Kentucky.

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: To hear more news serving hams in Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati area, visit



In the world of DX, listen for a team of operators from the UK signing as A25UK from Botswana until the sixth of May. They'll be on all bands 160m to 10m SSB, CW and RTTY. QSLs go via M0OXO.

Be listening for Peter DF7DQ in Vietnam from the first of May until the 10th. He is using the call sign 3W9DQ and operating holiday style on 40m to 15m CW, SSB and RTTY. Send QSL cards to his home call.

The latest stop for Tom KC0W is Guatemala and you can hear him using the call sign TG7/KC0W until May 8th. After that, be listening for him when he arrives in Guyana and uses the call sign 8R1/KC0W beginning May 10th.



STEPHEN: We end this week's newscast with a report from Australia where, it seems, scientists are back in the satellite business. We hear the details from Amateur Radio Newsline's John Williams VK4JJW.

JOHN'S REPORT: There's an awful lot of pride lately among scientists and satellite enthusiasts in Australia, now that the first new satellites to be built in that nation in 15 years have been launched by NASA at Cape Canaveral.

The miniaturized research satellites were developed by university-based teams at the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

Lifting off from Cape Canaveral on April 18, the Australian satellite projects were designed to help gain an understanding of climate and weather systems by studying the Earth's thermosphere.

Andrew Dempster, Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research director at the University of NSW, said the only two Australian satellite launches before this were in 1967 and 2002. Iver Cairns, from the University of Sydney, was present at the launch and told reporters he considered it a big day for Australian space research. He said he was especially proud that the three satellites would be the first from Australia going to the International Space Station for deployment.

All of that leaves a pretty good feeling in the Land Down Under for what is about to be accomplished "Up Over."

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm John Williams, VK4JJW.



NEWSCAST CLOSE: With thanks to ABC.NET Australia; Alan Labs; Amateur News Weekly; the ARRL; CQ Magazine; CQ Scotland; George Dewar VY2GF; Hap Holly and the Rain Report; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; West Bengal Amateur Radio Club; WTWW Shortwave; 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 located at

Also -- if you've going to Hamvention this year -- you can contact us in person! Just look for the Newsline crew at the HamNation booth in Xenia. We'll be wearing our distinctive blue polo shirts.

For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Stephen Kinford N8WB in Wadsworth Ohio saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.

Amateur Radio Newsline(tm) is Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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