Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1990, December 19, 2015

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AUDIO



Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1990 with a release date of Friday, December 18, 2015 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST.  A gun battle in Afghanistan kills a ham, another typhoon hits the Philippines, the new and improved FCC website goes live, it's almost time for Quartzfest, an update for Newsline's EchoProducer users and part 2 of our remembrance of Bob Ferrero, W6RJ.  All this and more in Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1990 coming your way right now.

(Billboard Cart Here and Intro)

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RADIO AMATEUR KILLED IN KABUL VIOLENCE

DON/ANCHOR: We begin this week's report with word that a ham from Spain has become a Silent Key, following a gun battle inside the Spanish Embassy in Kabul. Amateur Radio Newsline's Jeremy Boot, G4NJH, has the details:

[JEREMY]: Isidro Gabino San Martin Hernandez, EB1BT, from Leon, Spain, was working as part of the Spanish Embassy's security team in Kabul when he, another police officer, and numerous others on the diplomatic staff, were killed during an extended shootout inside the embassy early Friday evening, Dec. 11. The shootout closely followed the explosion of a car bomb, believed to have been set by Taliban suicide bombers, outside the Embassy's guest house gate. A group of gunmen then entered the embassy compound and a 9-hour gun battle ensued.

According to an account posted in The Spain Report, all the attackers were ultimately killed by the Afghan Police Special Forces.

A statement released by the Spanish Home Office said the Home Secretary had offered the King's and the Prime Minister's condolences to Gabino's widow and ordered Spanish flags flown at half-mast for three days on police buildings.

Hernandez, the father of four, was 48.

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

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FLORIDA HAM AGREES TO PENALTY

In a consent decree with the FCC, Thomas J. Warren, K3TW, of Lecanto, Florida, has agreed to pay a $3,500 civil penalty for failing to identify while transmitting on 20 meters.

The consent decree, issued   Dec. 9, says in part: QUOTE "In response to complaints that an unidentified station was transmitting on an Amateur Radio frequency at 14 MHz, FCC agents determined that the transmissions were coming from Mr Warren’s residence. To settle this matter, Mr. Warren admits that he failed to transmit his assigned call sign, violated the Commission’s rules, will report any noncompliance with rules governing the Amateur Radio Service, and will pay a $3500 civil penalty."

The decree traces the case back to June 25 of this year, when, the agency says, Warren acknowledges he may have failed to transmit his station identification as required. The decree went on to say that Warren's transmissions QUOTE "related to an ongoing dispute with another amateur radio operator, whose intentional interference had allegedly disrupted communications on the American Foreign Service Net that operates weekly on 14.316 MHz."ENDQUOTE

With the issuance of the decree, the agency has concluded its investigation of Warren.

(ARRL, FCC)

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HELPING BRACE UP SOUTH BENGAL

A team of radio amateurs from Chennai, Bangalore and Kerala are traveling to south Bengal to assess the communications infrastructure and other assets that would help the state brace for any disaster such as the cyclone that struck in May 2009.

The hams' main challenge is to study what kind of shelter is available in the region, the state's disaster-management plan if any, and the feasibility of creating a series of amateur radio communication bases. The hams will take into account the area's access to the Internet, even in remote areas.

(HINDUSTAN TIMES)

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TACKLING THE PHILIPPINES' TYPHOON

A weather disaster in another part of the world - the Philippines - had ham radio operators mobilizing well before it made landfall.  And then, as Typhoon Melor approached, the Philippine Amateur Radio Association activated its Ham Emergency Radio Operations, or HERO.

By the time it hit on Monday, Dec. 14, the typhoon swept through the central part of the nation, cutting power for millions and leaving at least six dead, one of them a child.

The Philippine government reported that more than 90,000 homes were damaged, at least 8,000 beyond repair. In addition, mudslides and landslides left roads blocked.

HERO has been making use of 7.095 MHz, lower side band, as its calling frequency for emergency traffic, requesting that all amateurs keep the frequency clear. The hams are utilizing backup power, and plan to continue operations as the typhoon makes landfall throughout the archipelago.

(CHANNEL NEWS ASIA, SOUTHGATE AMATEUR RADIO NEWS, WEATHER.COM)

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FCC WEBSITE UPGRADE

For ham radio operators, not every long-awaited launch necessarily involves a CubeSat. On Dec. 9, the FCC set course on a new trajectory with a website designed for improved access and navigation. A statement from the Commission describes the new website as featuring QUOTE "a more responsive design, a new site navigation structure, and an improved search capability." ENDQUOTE

The site also provides a friendlier interface for display on mobile devices, tablets and other platforms beyond the desktop environment. The site includes some big plusses for hams: There is now the ability to link hams directly to the Universal Licensing System from the homepage, and also access a direct link to the Electronic Comment Filing system, which is used for input in official proceedings.

Project Manager Deanna Stephens also notes, in an agency blog online, that the site's ability to offer navigation by toggling permits browsing by Categories or by Bureau and Office -- hopefully providing more responsiveness to user preferences.

(ARRL, FCC)

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QUARTZFEST BRINGS A DESERT TO LIFE

The gathering bills itself as the ultimate in "hands-on for hams." And it's taking place in the middle of nowhere....well, almost. It's the annual Quartzfest meetup just outside Quartzsite, Arizona. From Jan. 17 through 23. Quartzfest brings life, activity and good QSOs to a remote publicly owned campsite in the Sonoran desert.

In addition to giving attendees a chance to preview the latest advances in radio technology, organizers of this free specialty convention will also be conducting classes in radio theory and other ham-related interests. With star-gazing, cooking classes, campfires and children's programs listed as some of the many other non-radioactivities, Quartzfest is not the typical hamfest. It grew out of years of informal meetings that began in 1995 among ham radio operators who were also RV enthusiasts.

And then, it just grew from there. The hands-on classes are part of the educational focus at Quartzfest, and workshops include everything from global positioning, to portable antennas, to PSK.

Visit the website, quartzfest.org to see the complete program schedule.

(QUARTZFEST.ORG)

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KOSOVO AMATEURS JOIN IARU

Hopes were on-again, off-again, on-again for quite some time among radio amateurs in Kosovo, but the wait is over: It's on-again! The Kosovo Amateur Radio Association, also known by the initials SHRAK, is now part of the International Amateur Radio Union, following a second vote by its member societies.

Kosovo, formerly known as Yugoslavia, had been a candidate for membership as early as 2014, but failed to gain admission after the sufficient number of votes did not materialize before balloting deadline. The IARU's Region 1 then requested a revote, which has since taken place, admitting the nation into the union.

Meanwhile, the Kosovo amateurs will be on the air through the end of this year as Special Event Station Z60IARU, commemorating the International Amateur Radio Union's 90th anniversary -- and they'll be doing it as as an official member of the union, at long last.

(ARRL)

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BREAK HERE:

Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world, including WB3GXW, the Laurel Amateur Radio Club, in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

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ECHOLINK UPDATE

If you're among the Newsline rebroadcasters offering this newscast on your nets via EchoProducer, we're aware you've had struggles with audio and other technical issues. We've been working on it, too, because we'd like to get things resolved. Well, thanks to some insights from longtime friend Kevin Duplantis, W4KEV, a broadcast engineer in Knoxville, Tennessee, we may, at last, have a solution. The issues may have been the result of EchoProducer pointing to the wrong directory on our Newsline website.

So if you are using EchoProducer to share our report, please visit the Amateur Radio Newsline website where you'll find the correct URL for your system. Kevin reports that it is working for him - and so it should work, as well for you.

A big thanks to Kevin, W4KEV, for his hard work, as well as another Kevin - Kevin Trotman, N5PRE, our web guru, who posts the audio files to our website so they're available for downloading and podcast use.

Everyone here at Amateur Radio Newsline thanks you for your patience as we have sorted things out.

http://www.arnewsline.org/storage/audio/news.mp3

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KEYING IN ON FOR ROOKIE ROUNDUP

Think of it as Straight Talk for Straight Keys: The ARRL's Rookie Roundup will be held Sunday, Dec. 20 and everyone who wants to get their Code in shape - or perhaps up to a greater speed - is encouraged to jump in. Anyone licensed for three years or less qualifies as a Rookie and can get on the air calling CQ RR. More seasoned amateurs are encouraged to call CQ R, for CQ-Rookies, and go in search of newcomers.

The ARRL is also hoping that veteran operators will let new amateurs give CW a try at their stations or perhaps assemble a group of newbies at their shack for a multi-op.

Practice now - Straight Key Night is coming too, on New Year's Eve.

(ARRL)

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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: ALEX SHOVKOPLYAS

Speaking of Morse Code, Radio Amateurs of Canada has presented its Amateur of the Year award to Alex Shovkoplyas, VE3NEA, the developer of the free software program known as CW Skimmer.

According to various reports, the honor is being given to the Ontario resident for QUOTE "outstanding and consistent contribution to the welfare of amateur radio" ENDQUOTE  Although various news reports list the honor as being given this past fall, there is no official statement, or press release, on the Radio Amateurs of Canada website.

The award is being given for the year 2014. CW Skimmer is a contesting tool that interprets call signs sent in CW over a wide receiver bandwidth and also identifies waterfall traces by call sign. Once extracted, the call signs can be exported for DX spotting.

(ARRL)

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TRANSMITTING SPIRIT ON CHRISTMAS EVE DAY

Two unique transmitters -- the first, a vintage one, the second, an experimental one -- are delivering a Christmas Eve message this year, so listen up:

The Alexanderson Transmitter in Sweden is more than 90 years old. But the tradition it inspired is perhaps 10 years old. Developed by Swedish engineer and radio pioneer Ernst Alexanderson, a General Electric employee in Schenectady, New York, the vintage transmitter will be tuned up and transmitting on Christmas Eve, sending its holiday message in CW on the VLF frequency of 17.2 kHz from Grimeton Radio/SAQ in Sweden.

The Alexanderson transmitter's tuneup will begin at 0730 UTC. The event will also be webcast live on the webpage www.alexander.n.se - where information about listener reports can also be found.

Once used regularly in transatlantic communications, the Alexanderson transmitter is now a treasured museum piece. And it is put into action only on special occasions - such as this one.

It's a special occasion too for Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, who is pressing his 600-meter Experimental Station WG2XFQ  into service as well on Christmas Eve. The 486 kHz transmission from Forest, Virginia, set to begin at 0001 UTC, honors the 109th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s first audio transmission. The commemorative transmission will continue for 24 hours and, according to Justin, will be repeated on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Such operations are a specialty for Justin, whose transmissions coincide with - and honor - important dates in the history  of wireless communications.

Send listener reports to Justin at his QRZ.com address.

**

OHIO HAMS HELP NEEDY FAMILIES

Another holiday transmission, this one of hope and caring, comes to us from Ohio. The Center of Hope in Ravenna, Ohio, has a special Santa in the form of the Portage County Amateur Radio Service. The group's president, Rick Kruis, K8CAV, and vice president, Jim Wilson, AC8NT, recently donated a check for nearly $4,000 to the Center, which provides free hot meals 5 days a week for 75 to 100 low-income residents in the area. The Center's work is especially important in areas where no food pantries exist.

The check was accepted by Mark Frisone, chief executive officer of Family & Community Services Inc. He said: QUOTE "This is truly a clear example of the impact that the Center has on our community," ENDQUOTE

The Portage County group is an ARRL-affiliated special service club.

(ARRL)

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MERRY CHRISTMAS de SANTA

The spirit of Santa is everywhere. And just in case you missed a QSO with the guy in the red suit, there's still time. As expected, Santa's on the move - and he's even DXing.

For the 30th consecutive year, you can talk to Santa, OF9X - Old Father Nine Christmas- as he travels from the Arctic Circle westward toward the U.S. The station OF9X is active now through Dec. 28 on all bands, including 472 kHz. The Radio Club of Arctic Circle, OH9AB, and the Radio Club of Pusula, OH9W, with support from Radio Arcala, OH8X. There is also an opportunity for contact with OH9SCL in Finland. QSLs should be sent to either OH2BH or via the ClubLog at OF9X.


Closer to home in the U.S. is the Santa Claus Net on Dec. 23 and Dec. 24. The Net will be on 14.305 to 14.325, sponsored by the 14.300 Net, from 1400 to 2000 Eastern Time. Check with the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14.300 MHz for the actual operating frequency for Santa or perhaps Mrs. Claus. Or if you're looking to volunteer to be an on-air Santa, send an email to Bob at cpalawyer@att.net

The DoDropInn EchoLink Conference Server, Christmas Eve Santa Watch Net that starts at 1800 hrs eastern time. Dave N3NTV will be calling the net and keeping track of Santa’s location.  Like last year, Santa has a radio in his sleigh and may chat with the kids again. Once again, Santa Watch on Christmas Eve at 1800 hrs eastern on the *DoDropIn* Echolink conference server #355800.

And then there's the Santa Net on 3916, which took to the air right after Thanksgiving and continues through Dec. 24. Check it out at 7:30 p.m. Central Time, nightly. To check in via email first, send a quick note to Pete, KE5GGY, at ke5ggy@gmail.com

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KICKER:FINAL THOUGHTS ON HRO FOUNDER BOB FERRERO, W6RJ

And finally this week, we wrap up our conversation with Chip Margelli, K7JA, on the passing of his friend - and Ham Radio Outlet founder, Bob Ferrero, W6RJ. Chip, wasn't one of Bob's passions DX?

(AUDIO OF DON/CHIP 1:44)


Memories of Ham Radio Outlet's Bob Ferrero, W6RJ.

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NEWSCAST CLOSE
With thanks to Alan Labs; the Alexander Association; the ARRL; Channel News Asia; Chip Margelli, K7JA, CQ Magazine; Hap Holly and the Rain Report;  The Hindustan Times; Quartzfest; Radio Arcala, Southgate Amateur Radio News; TWiT TV; weather.com and you our listeners, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline. Our email address is newsline@arnewsline.org. More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's only official website located at www.arnewsline.org. You can also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio Newsline, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita, CA 91350.

For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, in Picayune, Mississippi, saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.

Amateur Radio Newsline™ is Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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