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In Brief: A Four-Way Rainscatter Roundable on 10 GHz, a New Satellite with a FUNcube Transponder, and more!

05/14/2015

Four-Way Roundtable on 10 GHz? T’was Nothing, Participant Avers: A four-way roundtable conversation is routine on HF and repeaters, but how about on 10 GHz? Few hams venture that high into the allocations available in that region of the spectrum to start with. On May 11, though, Dex McIntyre, W4DEX, and three other stations in the US Southeast took advantage of a weather cell in the upper atmosphere to conduct a four-way contact on 10 GHz.

“Today I was part of an hour-long 4 station 10 GHz FM roundtable QSO,” McIntyre told the SVHF reflector. “The other stations were Gene, WA4PGI; Josh, KF4YLM, and Fred, AD4HG. We were using a small, slow-moving 55,000 foot high cell for the reflector.”

McIntyre told ARRL that he and WA4PGI had been making rain scatter contacts on a regular basis for the past few weeks. “Gene called me saying there was a good cell to his east,” he recounted. “We quickly made contact, so he alerted Fred and Josh and another op in his area. While Gene and I were in QSO, Josh joined in, and a bit later Fred found the sweet spot.” McIntyre said the fifth operator was a no-show. “The only thing hard about doing this in our area is getting several [stations] on at the same time,” he added. “I'm sure it's been done many times in areas that have a higher concentration of microwave ops.”

Referring to National Weather Service radar maps, McIntyre said, “Anyone within the yellow circle running a few watts to a small dish could have joined in.” Goes to show the fun that some HF stalwarts are missing out on.

McIntyre posted maps from the Blacksburg, Virginia, NWS radar, the Sterling, Virginia, NWS radar, and the Raleigh, North Carolina, NWS radar. In addition to the microwave bands, McIntyre, who lives in Stanfield, North Carolina, also enjoys plying the depths of VLF and MW, where he has FCC Part 5 Experimental authorizations. His website offers the particulars.

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Nayif-1 CubeSat to Have FUNcube Transponder: AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL have announced that a FUNcube communication package has been selected as a major payload for the Nayif-1 CubeSat mission. FUNcube-1 (AO-73) carries an inverting U/V SSB/CW transponder. The Nayif-1 mission, tentatively set to launch toward the end of 2015, is intended to provide students in the United Arab Emirates with a tool to design and test systems in space.

The CubeSat is being developed by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) in partnership with American University of Sharjah (AUS). It is expected that this payload will provide a large amount of valuable environmental data from space together with a new, enhanced, UHF to VHF linear transponder.

The AMSAT team will work closely with the Emirati students in collaboration with support partner Innovative Solutions In Space BV from the Netherlands to develop the new system.

AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL announced the news on April 25, during the Dutch “Interessedag Amateursatellieten“ (Amateur Satellite Interest Day) event in Apeldoorn. More details, including frequencies and planned operating schedules, will be made available as soon as possible. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via AMSAT-UK

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Missouri Club Represented at Event Aimed to Keep Community Safe in Severe Weather: Members of the Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club (SMARC) on April 18 gathered at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds for the third annual “Safe & Sound Saturday.” Local broadcasters sponsor the event as a way to promote community safety, and SMARC has had a presence at the event since it started in 2013.

Club members Patti Flowers Palmer, KD0AEL; Jim Miller, KD0GTB; Jack Young, WK0Y, and Franklin Johnson, KD0RSJ, staffed the SMARC booth, answering questions about Amateur Radio’s role as a community resource in disasters and emergencies. They also talked about how much fun it can be to talk with friends on the air, provide communication for events, and to talk around the world.

The group also discussed SKYWARN and how weather spotting nets activate during severe weather, becoming additional eyes and ears for the National Weather Service, and the importance of staying informed when severe weather threatens.

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UK 70 MHz Band is Expanded: The RSGB has announced that UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom has added another 1 MHz of spectrum to the 70 MHz band, also known as 4 meters. The new allocation will be 70.5 to 71.5 MHz for digital experimentation by special permit. The RSGB will publish further details as they become available. Some geographical restrictions will apply.

A 4 meter Amateur Radio allocation is unlikely in the US, but Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, hold Experimental license WG2XPN, conducting beacon operations on 70.005MHz with 3 kW ERP from the US (FM07fm). Justin notes that it is the only 4 meter North American beacon. This portion of spectrum is reserved for broadcast television.

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South African Radio Amateurs Get Power Output Increase: South African Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations posted in a March 30 Government Gazette indicate that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has raised the Amateur Radio power output limit for South African Class A licensees to 1 kW (30 dBW) on most Amateur Radio bands.

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C. Weldon Fields, W4AJT, SK: A 100-year-old ARRL member from North Carolina who was honored last December when the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) received a Congressional Gold Medal for its World War II service died on May 6. C. Weldon Fields, W4AJT, of Greensboro, was 100.

During WW II, Fields volunteered to become a member of a CAP contingent on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where CAP pilots carried out anti-submarine missions to thwart attacks off the US East Coast. Volunteers like Fields were needed to provide aircraft-to-ground radio communication. He was an active Amateur Radio operator for 85 years.

Fields also was awarded North Carolina’s Order of the Longleaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor. A memorial service was held on May 9.

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