Relief Efforts Need Your Help

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dear ARRL Member:

There are few times when I have needed to reach out directly to you for your help. This is one of those times.

The American Red Cross (ARC) has asked ARRL for assistance with relief efforts in Puerto Rico. In the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and ARC, this is the first time ARC has made a request for assistance on this scale. Hurricane Maria has devastated the island’s communications infrastructure. Without electricity and telephone, and with most of the cell sites out of service, millions of people are cut off from communicating. Shelters are unable to reach local emergency services and people cannot check on the welfare of their loved ones. The situation is dire.

How can you help?

1) Volunteer. ARC needs up to 50 radio amateurs who can help record, enter, and submit disaster-survivor information into the ARC Safe and Well system. There are very specific requirements and qualifications needed for this deployment; for instance, familiarity with Winlink, an Amateur Radio license of General class or higher, and previous experience in disaster response. Deployment will be for up to 3 weeks (at ARC expense). If you would like to be considered for deployment, please complete the following online ARRL form, which asks for your qualifications and skills: Volunteer Deployment Form

2) Donate to Ham Aid. ARRL’s Ham Aid program loans Amateur Radio equipment kits  read more

Contact your Senators: The Amateur Radio Parity Act

The Amateur Radio Parity Act was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives in January as H.R. 555. It provides a mutually satisfactory compromise reached between the American Radio Relay League (ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI, which represents home owners associations).

The Senate Bill, S. 1534, allows for effective outdoor Amateur Radio antennas for public service and emergency communications while protecting the prerogative of community associations.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (pdf)

Go to the ARRL webpage. Urge your Senators to pass S. 1534.

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

AO-51 Crashed

Andrew Glassbrenner, KO4MA writes on AMSAT-BB:

It appears that AO-51 is down as of ~800Z this morning. Please standby until we notify that operations have been restored.

Let’s hope the command team is able to recover it quickly.

Update 07/30/2009: She is back online and in V/U mode 145.920 up/435.300 down.

Update: Trans-Atlantic Balloon Delayed

PBH-10 is delayed:

The launch has been postponed. It appears that the best weather for launching is 0000-0300 UTC, 4 May 2009, though this may change with relatively short notice based on ground wind conditions at the launch site and the position of the jetstream relative to the launch area. To clarify: we do anticipate the best time to launch is 0000-0300 UTC; however, the exact launch day may move to the right or left from 4 May 2009.

As always, the latest updates are available via PBH3 Twitter account

Trans-Atlantic APRS Balloon Launch Wednesday Night!

The transatlantic APRS balloon attempt (PBH10) will use the callsign of KC2TUA-10 with an anticipated launch window 8-11 PM EDT Wednesday April 29th. The anticipated flight path from Oswego, NY is northeast through New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland on to Europe.

The balloon will have both a an APRS beacon operating at 144.800 (To maximize the potential for reception in Europe the balloon will operate on the European frequency) and a 40 meter CW beacon on HF at 7.102.55MHz (+/-100Hz). To track the early part of the track, APRS operators throughout the flight path are asked to tune their receivers to the 144.800 frequency and to activate their stations as WIDE1-1 digipeaters or as IGates so that the packets are digipeated over onto the USA frequency while the balloon is over the USA and Canada in order to provide tracking.

Please see the PBH3 Twitter account for the latest information and email them with any questions at pbhdata-at-gmail-dot-com.

AO-27 Returns to Servce

There’s been a flurry of activity recently on the AMSAT-BB listserv about AO-27. Thanks to the efforts of the command team, the satellite has been restarted and is now operational again. The AO-27 webpage still lists the satellite as “On Orbit Checkout” which means the satellite may not fully operational yet, but there are people reporting to the mailing list that the repeater is active over North America.

AO-27 is an older satellite, being inserting into orbit in 1993. Because it is so old, the satellite is timed to only be in “repeater” mode while over North American latitudes, with it being in telemetry mode immediately before and after. To get more details on the schedule, check out the AO-27 webpage.

Many thanks to the AO-27 command team for their efforts in keeping the bird in service.