SEMARA Exam Session Results – December 2015

2015-12-16Congratulations to these hams who passed their exams at the last VE Session, December 5, 2015:

Andrew T. Perron, Extra — AB1YN
Brian M. Awalt, General — N1OPN
Benjamin D. DeSousa, Technician — KC1EUV
Steven J. Pack, Technician — KC1EUW
David A. Bernard, Technician — KC1EUX

Enjoy your new privileges!

AO-85 Commissioned and Turned Over to AMSAT

2015-11-20From the ARRL: AO-85 Commissioned and Turned Over to AMSAT-NA Operations

Fox-1A (AO-85) has been formally commissioned and turned over to
AMSAT Operations, which now is responsible for the scheduling and
modes. Fox-1A is AMSAT-NA’s first CubeSat.

“Many new techniques are incorporated, and lessons will be learned,
as with any new ‘product,”‘ said AMSAT Vice President-Engineering
Jerry Buxton, N0JY. “We will incorporate changes from what we learn
in each launch, to the extent possible, in subsequent Fox-1
CubeSats. To our members, we want to say that the Fox Team is very
proud and pleased that our first CubeSat is very successful and
hopefully will be for some time.”

The Fox-1 Project is a series of CubeSats. A total of five will be
built and flown. Launches already have been scheduled for three
more, and a new NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative proposal will be
submitted for the fifth launch.

Of the four NASA-sponsored CubeSats on the October 8 Educational
Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) on October 8 that put AO-85 and 12
other spacecraft into orbit, one (ARC1) never functioned, and a
second, BisonSat, was lost after a few weeks of operation.

The Fox Team notes that an apparent lack of receiver sensitivity and
difficulty in turning or holding on the repeater with the 67 Hz
CTCSS tone are probably the most notable observations about AO-85.

“We have determined a probable cause for the sensitivity issue, and
while that can’t be fixed on AO-85 we are taking steps to prevent
similar issues on the rest of the Fox-1 CubeSats,” Buxton assured.
“The tone-detection threshold, along with the receive sensitivity
issue, makes it hard to bring up the repeater. This is being
addressed by adjusting the values for a valid tone detection in the
other Fox-1 CubeSats, now that we have on-orbit information about
temperatures and power budget.” The November/December edition of
AMSAT Journal will include full details on these technical issues.

AMSAT has provided guidelines for using AO-85.

* Uplink power should be on the order of a minimum 200 W EIRP for full
quieting at lower antenna elevations. Your mileage may vary.
Successful contacts have been made using an Arrow-style antenna.

* Polarity is important. The satellite antennas are linear. If you
are using linearly polarized antennas, you will need to adjust
throughout the pass. Full-duplex operation facilitates these
adjustments while transmitting and is highly recommended.

* The downlink is very strong and should be heard well with almost
any antenna and is 5 kHz deviation. AMSAT said that users may
perceive that the audio is low. “This is an effect of the filtering
below 300 Hz, which provides for the data-under-voice (DUV)
telemetry, coupled with any noise on the uplink signal resulting
from lack of full quieting or being off frequency,” Buxton
explained. “That makes for less fidelity than a typical receiver in
terms of audio frequencies passed.”

* The satellite’s downlink frequency varies with temperature. Due to
the wide range of temperatures the satellite is exposed to during
eclipse, the transmitter can be anywhere from around 500 Hz low at
10 degrees C to near 2 kHz low at 40 degrees C. The uplink frequency
has been generally agreed to be about 435.170 MHz, although the
automatic frequency control (AFC) makes that hard to pin down while
also helping with off-frequency uplink signals.

“It is important to remember that science is the reason behind the
Fox-1 satellites,” AMSAT said. “Not only does science help with the
launch cost, it provides a great amount of educational value both
from the science payload and in amateur radio itself. The DUV
telemetry is an excellent way to provide the science without
sacrificing the use of the satellite for communication, which would
be the case if higher speed downlinks were needed. DUV provides
constant science as long as the repeater is in use, which in turn
provides more downlink data for the science – a mutually beneficial
combination.”

13 Colonies Special Event – June 30th to July 5th

2015-06-20The 13 Colonies Special Event Station K2H will operate from Tuesday, June 30, 9:00 AM Eastern (1300 UTC) until Sunday Night, July 5th, 24:00 (Midnight) Eastern (0400 UTC July 6th).

Plus two sister stations: WM3PEN and GB13COL.

WM3PEN will operate from Philadelphia, PA, where independence was declared. The 13 Colonies certificate adds a Liberty Bell for a contact.  WM3PEN will be on D-STAR each evening from 7-11 PM Eastern Time.

GB13COL will operate from Durham, England and will offer SSB, CW & Digital modes for the event. A Uniion Jack will be added for a contact.

K2H/W1AEC would like to operate both the first and last hours of the event period. We will be operation using a spreadsheet so their will be only one Massachusetts K2H station on the air at the same time using the same band, mode, and hour slot. That’s the easy way to be maximally present.

Any SE Mass station interested in joining K2H/W1AEC, just contact radioevents [at] semara [dot] org.

~Bob K1KVV
Radio Events

ARRL Kids Day – Sunday, June 21

2015-06-20Kids Day is Sunday, June 21!  Sponsored by the ARRL and The Boring (Oregon) Amateur Radio Club, Kids Day is a fantastic way to introduce young people to the magic of Amateur Radio by getting them on the air!  Kids Day shares the same date as Father’s Day.

Details

Date: Sunday, June 21, 1800-2359 UTC. Operate as much or as little as you like.

Suggested exchange: Call “CQ Kids Day.” Exchange name, age, location, and favorite color. It’s okay to work the same station again, if an operator has changed.

Suggested frequencies: 28.350 to 28.400 MHz; 24.960 to 24.980 MHz; 21.360 to 21.400 MHz; 18.140 to 18.145 MHz; 14.270 to 14.300 MHz; 7.270 to 7.290 MHz, and 3.740 to 3.940 MHz, as well 2 meter repeaters (with the permission of the repeater’s sponsor).

Control operators: Observe third-party rules when making contacts with stations outside the US.

More Information

Participating with your child or grandchild would be a fabulous way to celebrate the special bond between generations. But no matter if you’re a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, family friend, or neighbor, Kids Day is a great opportunity to open the doors of your station and let the youngsters take the “Big Chair.” Let them find stations they hear or work on a map, color in a map of states worked, or help them to build something.

To attract attention call “CQ Kids Day.” The suggested exchange is name, age, location, and favorite color. There is no limit on operating time, and stations may work each other more than once if the operator has changed. Repeater contacts (with permission of the repeater’s sponsor) are okay too, and satellite contacts may provide a real thrill.

All participants are encouraged to post stories and photos to the Kids Day Soapbox page and are eligible to receive a colorful certificate. You can download the free certificate, customized with the youngsters’ names, after filling out the Kids Day Survey found on the same page as the certificate generator. Alternatively, you can send a 9 × 12 SASE to Kids Day Certificate Request, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

~Bob K1KVV
Radio Events

WX4NHC Conducts Annual Station Test on May 30

2015-05-25WX4NHC, at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, conducts its annual station test on May 30, 2015, 1400 until 2200 UTC (10:00am – 6:00pm EDT).  This tests the station equipment, antennas, and computers in preparation for the 2015 hurricane season, June 1 through November 30.

The event provides practice for ham radio operators and National Weather Service (NWS) staff to become familiar with the kinds of Amateur Radio communications available during times of severe weather.

WX4NHC will make brief contacts on various bands and modes, exchanging signal reports and basic weather information, such as “sunny” or “rain,” with any and all stations.  WX4NHC will try to stay on the Hurricane Watch Net frequency of 14.325 MHz and announce when they QSY.  Locate WX4NHC by using a spotting network, such as DX Summit.

WX4NHC also will be on the VoIP Hurricane Net (VoIP-WX) from 2100 until 2200 UTC and on IRLP node 9219 and EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203.

QSL cards are available via WD4R with an SASE.  Do not send cards directly to the National Hurricane Center.

~Bob K1KVV
Radio Events