W4DXCC DX & Contest Convention – September 21 & 22, 2018

Convention leader Dave Anderson, K4SV for the W4DXCC DX and Contest Convention in Pigeon Forge, TN has asked that SEMARA officials pass along this announcement:

The 2018 W4DXCC DX and Contest Convention and Ham Radio Bootcamp is set for September 21st and 22nd, 2018; celebrating our 14th year.  Bookings are now open for hotel reservations at this years convention.  Convention registration is now open including online ticket purchasing.  Check out the website and learn about the W4DXCC DX and Contest Convention.  This year features a good lineup of presenters, so make your plans now and be sure to bring along some of your ham friends.  Program schedules will be posted as soon as they are confirmed by the presenters.

Best 73
See you soon,

Dave Anderson, K4SV
Convention Leader
dave [at] w4dxcc [dot] com

Amateur Satellite Updates

1.  AMSAT Fox-1 satellite, RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is now set for Saturday, November 18, at 0947 UTC.  It will carry a Fox-1 style FM U/V repeater with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz.

Information on ElaNa can be found on the NASA website.

Satellite and experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the DUV subaudible telemetry stream, which can be decoded using FoxTelem software.  The FoxTelem software can be downloaded from the AMSAT website.

2.  Chinese CAS-4A and CAS-4B Amateur Radio Satellite Transponders, launched on June 15, were activated on October 18.  The Amateur Radio linear (SSB/CW) inverting transponders:

CAS-4A (call sign BJ1SK) has a CW telemetry beacon on 144.855 MHz, and 4.8 kB GMSK telemetry on 145.835 MHz.  The uplink is 435.220 MHz, the downlink is 145.870 MHz (20-kHz passband).
CAS-4B (call sign BJ1SL) has a CW telemetry beacon on 145.910 MHz, and 4.8 kB GMSK telemetry at 145.890 MHz.  The uplink is 435.280 MHz, the downlink is 145.925 MHz (20-kHz passband).

3.  FalconSAT-3 is now open for Amateur Radio use.  It is a digital store-and-forward system. Built in 2005 and 2006 by cadets and faculty in the Space Systems Research Center at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, FalconSAT-3 was launched in 2007.  The satellite has completed its scientific and training missions, and the Academy now is making it available for Amateur Radio use.

The Packet Bulletin Board System operates at 9600 baud with a 145.840 MHz uplink/435.103 MHz downlink.  Output power is 1 W, and the downlink is continuously on.  Digipeating is enabled for live QSOs, but unattended digipeating operation is not authorized at this time.

Additional information is available on the AMSAT website.

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 to established Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) groups and partner agencies during disaster response, in order to establish Amateur Radio communications support. Ham Aid is supported by donations from individuals and corporations – including many of our ham radio industry partners. ARRL has previously staged Ham Aid equipment in Texas, and in the last few weeks, we have supplied kits in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Our supply of Ham Aid kits has been rapidly depleted. Your donation to Ham Aid will help us now. Your contributions to Ham Aid are 100% tax deductible. To make a donation online, go to this page on the ARRL site and select “Ham Aid” from the ARRL donation form. To donate by mail, print a donation form, and mail it with your check payable to ARRL, noting “Ham Aid” on the memo line of your check; mail to ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111 USA.

It has been four weeks since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. In little over a month, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have left paths of destruction and catastrophic flooding that will impact the lives of people throughout the southeast U.S. and Caribbean for years to come. Throughout these disasters, our trained ham radio volunteers, and especially those in coordinating roles, have helped us meet the requests of our partner agencies and organizations. To all ham radio operators who have been on alert, activated, deployed, or donated, THANK YOU. We are grateful for your service and for your generosity.

73
Rick Roderick, K5UR
ARRL President

Contact your Senators: The Amateur Radio Parity Act

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 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.

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.”

Watch “Ham Nation” – Live, Wednesdays 9pm

Ham Nation has moved from Tuesday to Wednesday nights effective July 11th and is now available for download in High-Definition.  It is hosted by Bob Heil, K9EID, Gordon West, WB6NOA and George Thomas, W5JDX.  The show covers the excitement of ham radio.  From tossing an antenna wire in a tree allowing you to talk to the world, to the importance of ham radio operators in time of disasters, Ham Nation has it all.

Ham Nation airs LIVE every Wednesday evening at 9:00pm Eastern on Leo Laporte, W6TWT‘s TWiT network.  Before starting his own network, Leo became well known as a show host on The Screen Savers and Call For Help on the former TechTV cable network.  In addition to the TWiT network, he currently hosts the nationally syndicated radio show, The Tech Guy which can also be heard locally on 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM on Sundays from 2-5pm.

You can watch live or listen live to Ham Nation, or download the latest netcast to your PC or portable device.  As of Wednesday, July 12th, 55 episodes of Ham Nation have aired.  Please tell your friends and spread the word about this great show.  It is a niche show that doesn’t have the highest ratings or many advertisers, however if viewship continues to grow, this will help the show stay on the air.

Watch “Ham Nation” – Live, Tuesdays 9pm

Ham Nation is a new show about ham radio.  It is hosted by Bob Heil, K9EID, with various co-hosts and guests, usually including Gordon West, WB6NOA and George Thomas, W5JDX.  The show covers the excitement and importance of ham radio.  From tossing an antenna wire in a tree allowing you to talk to the world, to the importance of ham radio operators in time of disasters, Ham Nation has you covered.

Ham Nation airs LIVE every Tuesday evening at 9:00pm Eastern on Leo Laporte, W6TWT‘s TWiT network.  Before starting his own network, Leo became well known as a show host on the former TechTV cable network.  You can watch live or listen live to Ham Nation, or download the latest netcast to your PC or portable device.  As of Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 25 episodes of Ham Nation have aired.