Contact the ISS

Some ISS crew members make random, unscheduled, amateur radio voice contacts with earth-bound radio amateurs, often called “hams”. They can make radio contacts during their breaks, pre-sleep time and before and after mealtime. Astronauts have contacted thousands of hams around the world. The work schedules of the ISS crew dictate when they are able to operate the radios. The crew’s usual waking period is 0730 – 1930 UTC. The most common times to find a crew member making casual periods are about one hour after waking and before sleeping, when they have personal time. They’re usually free most of the weekend, as well.

The following frequencies are currently used for Amateur Radio ISS contacts:  

  •  Voice and SSTV Downlink: 145.80 (Worldwide)
  • Voice Uplink: 144.49 for ITU Regions 2 and 3
    • (The Americas, and the Pacific and Southern Asia)
  • Voice Uplink: 145.20 for ITU Region 1
    • (Europe, Russia and Africa)
  • VHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 145.825 (Worldwide)
  • UHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 437.550
  • VHF/UHF Repeater Uplink: 145.99 (PL 67 Hz)
  • VHF/UHF Repeater Downlink: 437.80

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: https://www.ariss.org/

Steel City Teaches Scout Merit Badge

In November 2023 our education chairperson Jeffrey Bussard, N3EVN taught a class for the Boy Scouts for the Radio Merit Badge.  Along with Jeff several of our members join him to operate our two Go Kits to get the “Make A Contact” requirement done.  By using our Steel City Repeater and the North Hills ARC repeater, and many operators that were standing by, we were able to help the large group of scouts.

Boy Scout Merit Badge – Nov 18th

On November 18th the Steel City members will be helping the Boy Scout earn their Radio Merit Badge at Camp Guyasuta.  Steel City ARC will be needing operators to help the scouts make contact so that they can finish their education and earn the Radio Merit badge.if your willing to help please contact Jeff N3EVN at n3evn {at} yahoo {dit} com.

WE ARE IN NEED OF OPERATORS TO GO TO THE CAMP TO HELP THE SCOUTS AND OPERATORS THAT WILL STANBY ON THE REPEATERS AND HF BAND SO THEY CAN MAKE CONTACTS

For Merit Badge Information: Radio Merit Badge PDF

Location of Camp Guyasuta: 300 23rd St Ext, Sharpsburg, PA 15215

ARRL Hails FCC Action to Remove Symbol Rate Restrictions

ARRL  The National Association for Amateur Radio® reports that earlier today, the FCC Commissioners unanimously voted to amend the Amateur Radio Service rules to replace the baud rate limit on the Amateur HF bands with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit to permit greater flexibility in data communications.

“The Federal Communications Commission today adopted new rules to incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands by removing outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern digital emissions,” announced FCC.

“Specifically, we remove limitations on the symbol rate (also known as baud rate) — the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency, and/or phase is varied to transmit information — applicable to data emissions in certain amateur bands,” concluded the FCC Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, adopted November 13, 2023. “The amateur radio community can play a vital role in emergency response communications, but is often unnecessarily hindered by the baud rate limitations in the rules.”

Read The Full Article Here: https://www.arrl.org/news/

FCC Wants to Bolster Amateur Radio

Commission will vote in November on plan to remove outdated technical restrictions

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says the FCC plans to “incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands” by getting rid of outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern digital emissions.

The commission at its November meeting is expected to take action on a Report and Order that would eliminate the baud rate limitation and establish a bandwidth limitation in the amateur radio bands below 29.7 MHz.

The order being circulated for tentative consideration by the commission would remove the baud rate limitation — the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency and/or phase is varied to transmit information — for data emissions in the amateur radio bands, the FCC says. The current baud rate limits were adopted in 1980.

The order would implement a 2.8 kilohertz bandwidth limitation in place of the baud rate in amateur radio bands. The 2.8 kHz limitation is consistent with the commission’s treatment of other wireless radio services, the FCC says.

The current rules limit the baud rate for high-frequency amateur radioteletype/data transmissions to 300 baud for frequencies below 28 MHz (except in the 60-meter band), and 1200 baud in the 10 meter (28-29.7 MHZ) band.

Finish Reading On: https://www.radioworld.com

 

ARES Meeting Saturday – Oct 28th

Allegheny County
ARES Meeting 
Oct 28th @ 9:30 AM
At The Skyview Club House

Bob NU3Q will be holding the ARES meeting the Skyview K3JMW club house on Saturday Oct 28th at 9:30 AM.  If you want to get a bite to eat before the meeting Bob will be at the Eat N Park restaurant at 7:45 AM for breakfast.  All those wanting to learn more about ECOM should attend these meetings.

Location Skyview Club House:
2335 Turkey Ridge Rd, New Kensington, PA 15068

Location of Eat N Park – New Kensington:
380 Freeport St, New Kensington, PA 15068

SCARC Roadtrip – Greenbank Observatory

Tour Guide:
Richard F. Bradley, Ph.D. — W4DZC

—Former Steel City ARC Member
—Scientist / Senior Research Engineer (NRAO)
—Research Professor of Astronomy (U. Virginia)
—Visiting Assistant Professor of EE (U. Virginia)
—Radio Science: Associate Editor

THE DATE AND RESERVATIONS ARE NOW CONFIRM

NOW OPEN FOR ALL LOCAL HAM RADIO OPERATORS

Please send an email to me at n3lrg -at- w3kwh -dit- com if you would like to go with the SCARC group as we tour the Green Bank Telescope.  Who know you might make the biggest DX contact in your life.   We are allow 20 people so currently we have 9 open spots left.

The Steel City behind the scenes tour of the Greenbank Observatory is on for September 29 & 30.  This will be an overnight trip to the telescope leaving early Friday morning.   Not only are we going to see the big 300 foot diameter dish antenna but all the other dish antennas on the property. We will even get access to the control room to see how they receive signals from million of light years away.  After the tour we will be staying overnight at the telescope bunkhouse. Getting up early the next morning to head over to the CASS Railroad to take the train to the top of the mountain.  If we have enough people interested we can split the group in two and the other group head to the top of Spruce Knob {High point in WV, 4863 FT} were there is an POTA & SOTA site so you might want to bring along your portable gear.

Rich Bradley has done a great job of arranging our tour with the people at the telescope and  getting them to waived the $25 fee for the tour and getting them to moved it to a Friday so more people would be able to get the day off.  There will be a charge of $10/person  to sleep in the bunk house.  Currently the charge for the train trip will be around $79 but we will try to get a discount once we have a proper head count.  This tour will be limited to 20 people at the max so sign up early to reserve your spot.  It will be also required to fill out a :”Visitor Registration Form” {a basic background check} to go on this behind the scene tour.  Make sure you attend the June business meeting to reserve your spot on the trip.

UPDATE:
Those that have sign up for the tour.  The $10 Bunkhouse fee is due by the July 18th Business meeting to reserve your spot.  Please give the money to Walt or Joe M. and make sure Christine knows you paid.

Information on the Green Bank Telescope
Information about the behind the scene tour
Information on the Green Bank Bunkhouse
Click Here For CASS Scenic Bald Knob Tour
Information on the Spruce Knob Summit 

Parks On The Air – Cass Scenic Railroad K1809 { Iffy site – quite zone }
Parks On The Air – K-0632 Monongahela National Forest
Summits On The Air – Bald Knob W8V/PH-002{ Iffy site – quite zone }
Summits On The Air – Spruce Knob W8V/PH-001 { QRP }

Starlink Earth Station

Click image for full size photo

By now everyone heard of Starlink the Internet Service Provider from space.  Ever wonder what is at the other end after all you cant run a fiber into space. Around the world SpaceX has downlink Earth station that take the signal from the satellites and puts them onto the Internet backbone.  On a resent trip to Erie on the way home I took the sceinic way home near the town of Greenville, PA  SpaceX has a Starlink Earthstation.

In the fence in area in the back are 8 small satellite dishes that talk with the Startlink satellite as the pass over head.  On the truck bed you can see some spares waiting to be install.  The google map photo below give you an aerial view  of the dishes.  This is just one of hundreds around the country and the world.  Most are out in the middle of no where the only thing the Earth station needs is an Internet Backbone close by. Click the link below to see where the satellites and Earth station are currently at.

https://satellitemap.space/

Sun Spot & Space Weather

HF RADIO COMMUNICATIONS

Space weather impacts radio communication in a number of ways. At frequencies in the 1 to 30 mega Hertz range (known as “High Frequency” or HF radio), the changes in ionospheric density and structure modify the transmission path and even block transmission of HF radio signals completely. These frequencies are used by amateur (ham) radio operators and many industries such as commercial airlines. They are also used by a number of government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Defense.

There are several types of space weather that can impact HF radio communication. In a typical sequence of space weather storms, the first impacts are felt during the solar flare itself. The solar x-rays from the sun penetrate to the bottom of the ionosphere (to around 80 km). There the x-ray photons ionize the atmosphere and create an enhancement of the D layer of the ionosphere. This enhanced D-layer acts both as a reflector of radio waves at some frequencies and an absorber of waves at other frequencies. The Radio Blackout associated with solar flares occurs on the dayside region of Earth and is most intense when the sun is directly overhead.

Another type of space weather, the Radiation Storm caused by energetic solar protons, can also disrupt HF radio communication. The protons are guided by Earth’s magnetic field such that they collide with the upper atmosphere near the north and south poles. The fast-moving protons have an affect similar to the x-ray photons and create an enhanced D-Layer thus blocking HF radio communication at high latitudes. During auroral displays, the precipitating electrons can enhance other layers of the ionosphere and have similar disrupting and blocking effects on radio communication. This occurs mostly on the night side of the polar regions of Earth where the aurora is most intense and most frequent.

More information on solar activity from an amateur radio operator’s perspective is available at https://www.qrparci.org/resource/FDIM81.pdf


CNN Article:
Sun’s activity is peaking sooner than expected

Signal Reports SSB/ CW/ FT-8

From: vk5pas.com

The RST system.
The R-S-T system is used by amateur radio operators, shortwave listeners, and other radio hobbyists to exchange information about the quality of a radio signal being received. The RST system is a three digit number, with one digit each for conveying an assessment of the signal’s readability, strength, and tone.

R – Readability
S – Signal Strength
T – Tone

The first number in the RST report is the readability of the signal or how understandable a signal is. This ranges on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being ‘unreadable’ and 5 being ‘perfectly readable’. Factors which impact on readability include QRN (atmospheric noise, static crashes, QSB (fading), and QRM (man made noise, e.g. plasma TV noise).

The second number in the RST report is the strength of the signal. Remember, that the RST reporting system was created prior to introduction of S meters in transceivers. A signal strength of 1 is ‘faint signals, barely perceptible’, whilst a signal strength of 9 is an ‘extremely strong signal.’

The third number refers to Tone and applies to CW (Morse Code).



By: n3lrg

FT-8 Signal Reports
With FT-8 your PC clock is very important.  Please make sure you sync your PC clock with an time standard before operating FT-8.  Useful programs like Dimension 4 that will do it for you or manually you can do it by following this link. But what would happen if your out at a POTA site away from the internet well if you had a little USB GPS device you can use a program like GPStime to sync your clock.   If your looking at your receive window in WJST and see the “DT” column of is more than 0.3 +/- seconds off then your clock is in need a a resync.  If there just one station that has a time offset of more than 0.3 off don’t bother trying to connect to that station since there clock is way off. Time over 1.0 seconds will show in red.

Signal strength is also import for picking up stations.  With a minimum signal range between -21 dB and -24 dB  anything below -19 dB would be a hard station to work.  While a signal strength of 0 dB is a prefect level for an SSB signal.

On picking your transmit frequency in the water fall window try to find an clear frequency.  You can shift you transmit frequency by using your mouse on the WSJT-X waterfall to select a spot to transmit by right-clicking or shift-left-clicking. Also make sure your check mark “Hold Tx Freq.” is checked so that it stays at that frequency.  While your at it make sure “Auto Seq” and “Call 1st” are checked too.  So that it will handle automatically replying to their responds and it will automatically respond to other station answering your CQ’s.