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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 21-Jul-2007

OSCAR News - June, 2004

Tracking Cookie Advisory
Your editor routinely scans his own computer for adware and spyware. Unfortunately, a data mining cookie (user@trafficmp.txt) has been routinely showing up after viewing the OSCAR web site. This is apparently being loaded as part of a pop-up from Anglefire. The detail from the scanning software (Ad-Aware) indicates:

"The Risk Level as Low: this cookie is known to collect information used either for targeted advertising, or tracking users across a particular website, such as page views or ad click-thrus."
We appologize for any tracking cookies, but that appears to be the price of utilizing a free web site. If you are interested in seeing what lurks on your own computer, PC World lists many ad blocking software that can be downloaded for free.

Local Club Page Updates
The Austin, Albert Lea, and Faribault groups have all updated their web pages recently. Use the LINKS button on the OSCAR Home Page to access them.

TwinsLAN Tailgate Swapfest From ARRL MN Section News
The swapfest has new location this June!!! The event will be held Sat Jun 5 at the 3M Center located in the east Metro in the NW quadrant of I-94 and the Junction of I-694/494. Take McKnight Rd north of I-94. The swapfest will start at 7am.

ARRL MN Section Manager Election From Multiple Sources
Max Wendel KMØD is "retiring" from the position of MN Section Manager for the ARRL. Max has served the state for 10 years. Nominations are open until 04-Jun. Election ballots will be mailed to ARRL members in July. Thanks, Max, for your service to the hobby!!!

Currently, there are two candidates campaigning for your vote to become the new MN SM. The candidates (and their web site) are: Chuck Gysi N2DUP www.radiohams.net and Skip Jackson KSØJ www.skipforhams.com

Many times, elections to the ARRL positions are pursued by a single candidate. This year we have the benefit of having multiple candidates. Be sure to take the time to review the candidates and their credentials.

National Weather Service (NWS) Changes From Multiple Sources
The NWS has will implement a couple of changes to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) notifications at the end of June.

The NWS will fully implement the new EAS event codes on NOAA Weather Radio nationwide. NWS has implemented the some of the new event codes in partnership with local or state emergency communications committees in a few areas of the country. But on 30-Jun at 1800 hours Coordinated Universal Time, NWS will make the changes nationwide.

Also effective on 30-Jun, the NWS will soon be adding new SAME notifications. SAME is a digital encoding method which provides weather-related watches and warnings for specific areas. During weather events, SAME-capable weather alert receivers can receive and alert the user to the particular message which may affect their geographical area. The NWS will be adding new SAME coding messages in addition to weather messages. Some of these new SAME alerts will broadcast child abductions, 911 telephone outages, fire warnings, earthquake warnings, hazardous material warnings, to name a few.

A complete list of the current and new EAS is available online at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/eas_codes.htm. SAME codes can be seen at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrsame.htm.

Logbook Of The World DXCC Credits From ARRL Letter
The ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) secure contact database debuted its DXCC credits system May 5. The long-awaited LoTW component permits users to apply contact "matches" in LoTW's database to their DXCC records. While the LoTW software and obtaining a digital certificate are free, it will cost users to apply LoTW QSL credits to DXCC. The application fee for a basic DXCC certificate is $10 and includes up to 120 card credits.

LoTW will be able to query the DXCC system and display an individual's DXCC record. DXCC is the first and only award for which LoTW users will be able to apply their credits. Plans already are in the works to make the system available to apply LoTW credits to other ARRL and possibly some non-ARRL awards.

New 6-Meter Beacon From QRZ.com
The Legion of Indianapolis DXers today activated a 24-hour beacon, W9VW/B, on 50.069 MHz. The 12-watt beacon is located in the heart of Indianapolis, in grid square EM69WT. The antenna is an omnidirectional turnstile (horizontally polarized) at 70 feet. The 15 wpm CW message (with 10-second pauses) is as follows: "VVV DE W9VW/B W9VW/B EM69WT INDY". Reception reports to W9VW, P.O. Box 18495, Indianapolis, IN 46218, or via e-mail to Brian, W9IND (bdsmith-AT-indy.net).

New Amateur Radio Rules From ARRL
Minor amendments to various Amateur Radio (Part 97) rules become effective June 1. Rule changes within the context of a larger, wide-ranging Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) include:

  • The most extensive and substantive Amateur Radio rule change involves Emission standards. The updated language imposes a slightly higher standard on newer transmitters or amplifiers of any power level:
    • The mean power of any spurious emission from HF transmitters or external RF power amplifiers installed after January 1, 2003, must be at least 43 dB below the mean power of the fundamental emission.
    • The mean power of any spurious emission from HF transmitters or external RF power amplifiers installed on or before January 1, 2003, must not exceed 50 mW and must be at least 40 dB below the mean power of the fundamental emission. If the mean power output of such as transmitter is less than 5 W, the attenuation must be at least 30 dB.
    • Still exempt from the provisions of §97.307(d) are transmitters built before April 15, 1977, or those first marketed before January 1, 1978.
  • The FCC also has redefined what constitutes an Amateur Radio operator:
    • An amateur operator is "a person named in an amateur operator/primary license station grant on the ULS consolidated licensee database to be the control operator of an amateur station."
  • For examinations, Technician or Technician with Element 1 credit licensees from the classes of operators are no longer permitted to prepare Element 1 (5 WPM Morse) and Element 2 (Technician written) examinations.
  • The FCC drops the word "unexpired" from the wording of §97.505(a)(9). The revised rule provides Element 1 (5 WPM Morse) credit to anyone possessing an "expired" Technician class operator license document granted before February 14, 1991. No "unexpired" 1991 licenses now exist.
  • A slight wording change to §97.109(d) dealing with automatic station control reflects the change in title from "Engineer in Charge" or EIC to "District Director" to designate a staff member who directs an FCC field office.
  • The FCC makes an editorial change to a Part 0 rule that spells out the responsibilities of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB). The new phrasing states that the WTB "administers the Commission's Amateur Radio programs (Part 97 of this chapter) and the issuing of Maritime Mobile Service Identities (MMSIs)."

Business Communications On FRS From Newsline
The Industrial Telecommunciatons Association, Inc. (ITA) filed a 2002 petition requesting that the Commission prohibit daily business communications on the Family Radio Service frequencies. It was concerned about the unlicensed mix of business and personal users. The ITA said that traditional businesses were using FRS units for daily business needs and thereby limiting the ability of others to engage in the personal communications that the Commission envisioned for FRS. The Personal Radio Steering Group challenged the petition was. According to the PRSG filing, the FCC specifically indicated in the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for creating the Family Radio Service that small businesses may use the FRS to conduct their affairs. The FCC concluded that day to day business communications is a valid use of the Family Radio Service.

Air Force Jams Garage Door Openers From Newsline
A new military radio system is jamming remote-control garage doors in Florida. During testing of the $5.5 million two-way radio system at Eglin Air Force Base, homeowners in Niceville, Valparaiso and the Crestview area reported that their garage door openers failed to work or went wild by themselves.

According to Air Force officials the contractor, Motorola Inc., will try to minimize the problem. Technicians will run the system on slightly different frequencies from those used by garage door openers when another test is conducted. An FCC spokesperson said that if the Air Force has been running the system within its licensed frequencies then the users of garage door openers may have to change the operating frequencies of theirs.

BPL Update From Multiple Sources
There certainly has been a lot of BPL news over the past month. We’ll try to summarize many pages of news into a very condensed version.

Both the ARRL and CQ Magazine are making information about BPL available for hams to use in learning about the situation and helping to explain it to others. Both groups have web pages with a bunch of information from various sources. Check out the information available at:

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/
or
http://www.cq-vhf.com/BPL.html

The biggest BPL news is the release of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) report. The picture on the right is prominently displayed on the inside cover, and illustrates the issue at hand. NTIA summarized technical and operating parameters of over 59,000 Federal Government frequency assignments in the 1.7-80.0 MHz frequency range. Models were developed for land mobile, shipborne, aircraft, and fixed receivers. The core report is over 100 (.pdf) pages long, but is not overly technical and very informative. The full report can be downloaded in part or whole at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fccfilings/2004/bpl/index.html.

The FCC extended to June 22 the deadline to file reply comments in its broadband over power line (BPL) Noticeof Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), ET Docket 04-37. The FCC acted this week on a request suggesting the June 1 reply comment deadline would not allow stakeholders adequate time to prepare comments that address the full two-part NTIA study.

Some of the highlights of the NTIA report from the Executive Summary:

  1. "BPL systems generate the highest electric field strength near the BPL device for horizontal-parallel polarized signals. However, these systems generate peak vertically-polarized field strength under and adjacent to the power lines and at impedance discontinuities at substantial distances from the BPL device."
  2. "Interference to land vehicle, boat, and fixed stations receiving moderate-to-strong radio signals is likely in areas extending to 30 meters, 55 meters, and 230 meters, respectively, from one BPL device and the power lines to which it is connected. With low-to-moderate desired signal levels, interference is likely at these receivers within areas extending to 75 meters, 100 meters and 460 meters from the power lines … Interference to aircraft reception of moderate-to-strong radio signals is likely to occur below 6 km altitude within 12 km center of the BPL deployment. Interference likely would occur to aircraft reception of weak-to-moderate radio signals within 40 miles of the center of the BPL deployment area. [At one field trial site, the NTIA noted "appreciable BPL signal levels (ie, at least 5 dB higher than ambient noise) were observed beyond 500 meters from the nearest BPL-energized power lines." Ed.]
  3. "Application of existing Part 15 measurement procedures for BPL systems results in a significant underestimation of peak field strength. Underestimation of the actual peak field strength is the leading contributor to high interference risks. As applied in current practice to BPL systems, Part 15 measurement guidelines to not address unique physical and electromagnetic characteristics of BPL radiated emissions." [It was interesting to see how much higher the allowable emissions would be under Part 15 compared to the BPL limits established in other countries. Ed.]
  4. "Phase 2 of NTIA's studies will ... address potential interference via ionospheric propogation of BPL emissions from mature large-scale deployments of BPL networks." Later in the report we find "(ionospheric progagation) is a concern insofar as skyward emissions from hundreds of co-frequency BPL systems deployed over a large area theoretically could produce a significant composite interfering signal level at a very distant receiver."

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