WACOM Hamfest – New Location

WACOM 2018 HAMFEST
Washington Amateur Communications Inc.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4th 2018

New location for the WACOM hamfest this upcoming November 4th. Click on the link below to get directions to there new site.  This is one of the most popular hamfest of Western Pennsylvania and well attendant by Steel City Members.

The Printscape Arena at Southpointe
114 Southpointe Blvd
Canonsburg, PA 15317
Exit 48 off Interstate 79
8:00 A.M –3:00 P.M—Admission $5.00

Hamfest Flyer: https://www.wacomarc.org/documents/HamfestFlyer2018.pdf

Google Map Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/5aHes3VEyvE2

WWV-WWVH Shut Down Proposal

Concern Rising within Amateur Radio Community over WWV-WWVH Shut Down Proposal

08/21/2018 – From the ARRL news website http://www.arrl.org/news

ARRL members and Amateur Radio clubs are expressing increased concern over the inclusion of WWV and WWVH on a list of proposed cuts in the White House’s National Institute of Standards and Technology Fiscal Year 2019 budget request. The proposed cuts also would include the Atomic Clock signal from WWVB used to synchronize specially equipped clocks and watches. Online petitions soliciting signatures include one established by Tom Kelly II, W7NSS, of Portland, Oregon, who would like to see funding for the stations maintained. At this point, the budget item is only a proposal, not a final decision. That would be up to the Congress to decide.

ARRL is among those worried over the possible loss of WWV, WWVH, and WWVB and is suggesting that members of the Amateur Radio community who value the stations for their precise time and frequency signals and other information sign Kelly’s petition and/or contact their members of Congress promptly, explaining how the stations are important to them, beyond government and military use.

Kelly’s petition, which may be signed by US residents, notes that WWV is among the oldest radio stations in the US, having been established in 1920. “The station has transmitted the official US time for nearly 100 years, and is an instrumental part in the telecommunications field, ranging from broadcasting to scientific research and education,” his petition says. “Additionally, these stations transmit marine storm warnings from the National Weather Service, GPS satellite health reports, and specific information concerning current solar activity and radio propagation conditions. These broadcasts are an essential resource to the worldwide communications industry.”

NIST’s full Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget request to Congress calls for the agency to “discontinue the dissemination of the US time and frequency via the NIST radio stations in Hawaii and Fort Collins, Colorado.” The agency noted, “These radio stations transmit signals that are used to synchronize consumer electronic products like wall clocks, clock radios, and wristwatches, and may be used in other applications like appliances, cameras, and irrigation controllers.” The specific cut, which would come from the NIST Fundamental Measurement, Quantum Science, and Measurement Dissemination budget, would amount to $6.3 million.

In its budget request, NIST said that it plans to consolidate and focus work on its efforts in quantum science while maintaining essential core capabilities in measurement science research and measurement dissemination, as well as eliminate “efforts that have been replaced by newer technologies, measurement science research that lies outside NIST’s core mission space, and programs that can no longer be supported due to facility deterioration.”

WWV and WWVH broadcast time and frequency information 24/7, including time announcements, standard time intervals, standard frequencies, UT1 time corrections, a BCD time code, geophysical alerts, and marine storm warnings. Transmissions are broadcast from separate transmitters on 5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz. An experimental 25 MHz signal is also currently on the air. WWVB transmits standard Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) signals on 60 kHz to appropriately equipped timekeeping devices.

NIST Public Relations Director Gail Porter told Tom Witherspoon, K4SWL — editor of The SWLing Post, which has been tracking developments — that NIST “is proud of the time and frequency services we provide through our radio stations, and understands that these services are important to many people.”

NIST Director Walter Copan has supported the overall budget request. “This budget request ensures that NIST can continue to work at the frontiers of measurement science by preserving investment in core metrology research,” Copan said. “Through its constitutionally mandated role, NIST performs work that only the government can do, and produces enormous return on US taxpayers’ investment. Translating measurements into technically sound standards across all industries enables effective international trade and US competitiveness.”

 

SOTA – Summits On The Air

Summits on the Air

SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for all Radio Amateurs and Shortwave Listeners – this is not just for mountaineers! There are awards for activators (those who ascend to the summits) and chasers (who either operate from home, a local hilltop or are even Activators on other summits).

SOTA is fully operational in nearly a hundred countries across the world. Each country has its own Association which defines the recognized SOTA summits within that Association. Each summit earns the activators and chasers a score which is related to the height of the summit. Certificates are available for various scores, leading to the prestigious “Mountain Goat” and “Shack Sloth” trophies. An Honor Roll for Activators and Chasers is maintained at the SOTA online database

How do I start?

Summits on the Air is an amateur radio awards scheme. To participate in this scheme you do not become a “member”, there are no dues to be paid or membership cards to be issued. You can join in straight away! You will find it helpful to register accounts our online services, namely SOTAwatch, the SOTA Database and the SOTA Reflector. There is no charge for these accounts, but once registered you can use SOTAwatch to see what is happening right now in SOTA and, join in discussions on the Reflector and log your activity in the Database.

You can then Chase or Activate when you feel like it – SOTA is global, activations can take place throughout the 24 hours of the day. Once you transfer your log to the database there is a permanent record and you can check your entries against those of the stations that you contacted, and keep track of your progress towards awards. Later you might wish to purchase awards, trophies or goods from our on-line shop. These purchases and the occasional donation are the means of financing the SOTA facilities.

For more information: https://www.sota.org.uk/Joining-In

SOTA Watch: http://sotawatch.org/

SOTA Handout: https://sotastore.blob.core.windows.net/docs/SOTA-leaflet-2016.pdf

FT8CALL – Rag Chew on FT-8?

FT8 has taken over the airwaves as the digital communication mode for making QSOs over HF/VHF/UHF. The mode has been widely popular as the latest offering in K1JT’s WSJT-X application. FT8 stands on the shoulders of JT65, JT9, and WSPR modes for weak signal communication, but transmits much faster with only slightly reduced sensitivity.

While FT8 is an incredibly robust weak signal mode, it is designed heavily to take advantage of short band openings on HF/VHF/UHF and only offers a minimal QSO framework. However, many operators are using these weak signal qualities to make successful QSOs on the HF bands where other modes fail.

The idea with FT8Call is to take the robustness of FT8 mode and layer on a messaging and network protocol for weak signal communication on HF, similar to FSQ and Fldigi with a keyboard-to-keyboard interface.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE – Pre-Released Documentation

QSL Card from KH6JF / MM

Congratulation goes to N3LL for making contact with the KH6JF floating drone ship. He made an FT8 contact with the drone this past March.


More Information: http://www.jrfarc.org/hf-voyager/

Jupiter Research Foundation Amateur Radio Club (JRFARC) has integrated an HF transceiver with an autonomous ocean-going drone. Our mission is to deploy a ham radio station that roams the world’s oceans while providing an opportunity for amateur radio operators everywhere to make contacts with rare locations.

Our sponsor, Jupiter Research Foundation (JRF), has loaned JRFARC a Wave Glider and donated some radio equipment for this effort. Our club members have assembled a specialized waterproof ham radio payload and antenna system for the Wave Glider. We’ve used a combination of off-the-shelf and custom software and hardware to allow the system to operate autonomously for months at a time.

We originally launched the system from the Island of Hawaii in January of 2016 onboard a Wave Glider SV-2. After a nearshore ‘shakedown cruise’ of about one month, we brought the system in for some tweaks. We’ve had it in the nearshore waters for a few more test cruises throughout the summer of 2016 and 2017. In the late summer of 2017 we built a second version of the HF Voyager to be deployed on an SV-3 model Wave Glider. It sailed in the near-shore waters for a few months of testing in late 2017.

We sent this new Voyager out to the open ocean on its way towards Baja California on January 15th, 2018 as a passenger on the JRF HUMPACS mission. As the mission searched for ‘missing’ humpback whales, JRF’s pilots guided HF Voyager to sections of the Equatorial North Pacific that were not normally available to ham operators. The station used FT8 on the 20 meter band as its primary operating mode. You may have heard it on PSK-31 or WSPR. The Voyager returned to Hawaii on April 25th, 2018.

The club plans to give a QSL card to operators worldwide that have a confirmed contact with the HF Voyager during the HUMPBACS mission.

In the future we hope to collaborate with Amateur Radio organizations and publishers to sponsor operating events and contests for HF Voyager contact milestones. Grid square collectors, maritime operating fans, Islands on the Air participants, and all other hams interested in this unique opportunity to make a contact with an autonomous roving maritime station should find this to be an exciting new aspect of their favorite hobby.

Amateur Radio Volunteers Assist California Fire

Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers have pitched in to assist where needed to provide or support communication as catastrophic wildfires have struck California. Volunteers from multiple ARRL Sections in the state have stepped up to help, as some fires remain out of control. The fires have claimed several lives, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and forced countless residents to evacuate, including radio amateurs. ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, said this week that things have calmed somewhat compared to the past couple of weeks, with American Red Cross shelter communicators stepping down after 10 days of support. Initially, there were four shelters in Redding. On August 5, the Shasta-Tehama ARES team was able to take its communications trailer to Trinity County to support a shelter in Weaverville opened for Carr Fire evacuees, he said.

“This relieved the Sacramento County ARES volunteers who had been up there for several days,” Kruckewitt said. “For mutual assistance to Weaverville, it is a 4.5- to 5.5-hour drive for the Sacramento Valley Section people who helped out. Communications at the shelter have been important, as power and cell phone coverage is often spotty, with power going off for hours at a time.” All ARES activations for the Carr Fire ended the evening of August 7.

Read the full story here:
http://www.arrl.org/news/amateur-radio-emergency-service-volunteers-assist-in-california-fire-response

2018 Hurricane Season: Some Nets to Know

Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net – Meets daily at 1030Z and 2230Z on 3815 kHz. The Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net was established in 1958 by Colonel Henry Frew, KV4BZ, for the purpose of having a general calling frequency for the Caribbean Islands and their North and South American friends. The net’s original name was the Antilles Emergency Net.
Hurricane Watch Net — 14.325 MHz (day)/7.268 MHz (night). Activated whenever a hurricane is within 300 statute miles of expected land-fall. Disseminates storm information and relays meteorological data to National Hurricane Center via embedded NHC station WX4NHC. Also relays post-storm damage reports and other relevant information.
Intercontinental Net — 7 AM to noon US Eastern Time – 14.300 MHz. Provides a means of emergency communications to any location where the normal means are disrupted by local disaster such as fire, earthquake, storms, floods and terrorist activity.
Maritime Mobile Service Net — 12 PM to 9 PM US EST or 12 PM to 10 PM EDT – 14.300 MHz – The network acts as a weather beacon for ships during periods of severe weather and regularly repeats high seas and tropical weather warnings and bulletins from the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.
14.300 MHz Net Information – More information about nets on 14.300 MHz.
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) – 14.265 MHz – The purpose of the SATERN net is to support the Salvation Army operations in local, regional and international disaster situations, as well as other functions.
VOiP SKYWARN/Hurricane Net — A weekly Prep Net is held on Sundays at 0000 UTC, which is Saturday evenings for most of North America. Join by connecting to the EchoLink WX-TALK conference server, IRLP Reflector 9219 or if necessary to one of the backup systems. Monitor the net during hurricanes and other major severe weather events.
From: Lloyd KA3MSE