Category Archives: News

Silver Dollar Hofbrau Closes it’s Doors

It’s the end of an era for a popular spot in Northeast Fresno.

The Silver Dollar Hofbrau closed its doors Tuesday night after more than three decades in business.
Owner and former California Republican Party Chairman Truman Campbell joined his band “The Silver Dollars” as they’ve done every Tuesday night.

Campbell says the restaurant and bar has had a great following over the years, but times have changed. “It has been a staple. It was the place to be for many years. But now there are new kids on the block. New demographics. People have moved out of this area. They’ve moved on,” said Campbell.

The Silver Dollar Hofbrau has been open for 35 years. So far, no word on what the new owners plan to do with the building in the future.

Amateur Radio Payloads Lost in Launch Explosion
October 28, 2014

Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio Payloads Among Those Lost in Launch Explosion

The GOMX-2 and RACE CubeSats were among more than 2 dozen satellites that were lost after an unmanned Orbital Space Sciences (OSC) Antares 130 vehicle exploded spectacularly shortly after launch at 2222 UTC on Tuesday, October 28, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Both satellite packages carried payloads that operated on Amateur Radio frequencies. The Antares is a new medium-class launch vehicle developed by OSC. The rocket exploded about 6 seconds after launch, sending a huge ball of fire hurtling toward the ground, which set a massive fire at the NASA launch site.

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Radio Amateur is Among Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winners
October 8, 2014

Radio Amateur is Among Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winners

A California radio amateur and ARRL member was among the three winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. William Moerner, WN6I, of Los Altos, a chemistry professor at Stanford University, will share the prestigious award equally with two other researchers — Eric Betzig and Stefan Hell — for their work in high-resolution microscopy or nanoscopy. For many years scientists had believed that an optical microscope could never yield better than 0.2 micrometer resolution. The three scientists overcame that limitation through what the Nobel panel called “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”

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NPR: Celebrating 100 Years Of Ham Radio
May 26, 2014

Celebrating 100 Years Of Ham Radio

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League, the largest association of ham radio lobbyists in the United States, which is headquartered in Newington, Conn. That means it will be a special year for the hundreds who converge annually on W1AW, a small station there, known as “the mecca of ham radio,” to broadcast radio signals across the globe.

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Ham radio: Old technology gets new respect
by Jonathan Serrie
May 19, 2014

Ham radio: Old technology gets new respect

ATLANTA – Seeking reliable backup communication in a crisis, emergency managers are finding new solutions in an old technology: ham radio.

“It’s just another avenue, another opportunity for us to be able to communicate,” said Herb Schraufnagel, public safety captain with Emory University Hospital Midtown.

Emory HealthCare is among a growing number of hospital systems to adopt ham radio. Hospital administrators and government officials took a lesson from Hurricane Katrina, which left some Gulf Coast medical centers isolated from the outside world, as landlines and cell towers failed.

When power, phone and Internet services go down, a battery-powered amateur radio and portable antenna can provide that crucial link to the outside world.

“Ham radio will never die,” said Barry Thomas, Sr., a ham radio enthusiast and employee at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

“The quickest means of communication is Morse Code. It’ll get out when none of this will,” Thomas said, referring to a room filled with computers and smartphones.’

“It is interesting that some of the technology that has been around for 80, 90, 100 years is still relevant,” said John Davis, a ham radio enthusiast.

In addition to major hurricanes, Davis says the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 rekindled interest in ham radio as a public safety tool.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) has set up a permanent ham radio station in its command center.

“We look at ham radio operators just like GEMA staff, just like DOT staff and Georgia State Patrol staff,” said GEMA Director Charlie English. “They are a critical partner with us.”

The number of ham radio licenses is at an all-time high in the U.S. (723,182, as of April, according to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data compiled by Joe Speroni of the Amateur Radio Education Web Site,

“I really hope that it stays relevant and that we can be a resource to emergency management agencies,” enthusiast Davis said. “Because I think that is where ham radio shines.”

Fox News producer David Lewkowict contributed to this article.

Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.

Radio Hams Keep ‘Queen Mary’ Wireless on the Air

Voice of America
by Mike O’Sullivan
April 29, 2014

Radio Hams Keep ‘Queen Mary’ Wireless on the Air

LOS ANGELES — The Queen Mary, an ocean liner that once sailed the North Atlantic, is now permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, where it’s a tourist attraction and hotel. In one of the rooms aboard the ship, the tradition of ship-to-shore wireless operations is continued and visitors are introduced to the hobby of ham radio.

A young visitor recently got an introduction to Morse code, the system of dots and dashes once used for wireless communication. Amateur radio operators, called “hams,” still use it today.

The Queen Mary was the pride of the Cunard Line after its 1936 launch, and is now a popular tourist attraction.

The wireless room preserves the ocean liner’s communications hub. Queen Mary Commodore Everette Hoard said it was a lifeline in emergencies, providing two-way messages — ship to shore.

“And not only did they carry several transmitters for transmitting the ship’s business, they also, even in 1936, had radio-telephone service,” said Hoard.

Today, volunteers from the local amateur radio club show off old equipment and operate new gear, as they talk to hams around the world.

“Just chit-chat, back and forth, some of them for hours at a time, many on voice, some of them even on Morse code,” said wireless room manager David Akins.

Volunteer Kurt Freitag said the wireless station is popular with visitors and hams overseas.

When we get out there and say, this is W6RO, our call letters, we get a pile up. People go, that’s the Queen Mary, and they all jump in, talk to me, talk to me, no talk to me,” said Frietag.

Ham operators help with communications in disasters, from earthquakes and hurricanes to winter ski accidents.

The man who helped create the ship’s ham radio operation, Nate Brightman, said helping in emergencies is an important part of the hobby.

“That’s the big reason that the government is so nice to amateur radio operators and gives us all these frequencies to use, because we serve the public. It’s a hobby and it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also very valuable to the country,” said Brightman.

These volunteer radio operators are continuing the heritage of seaborne communication on board the Queen Mary, reaching out to visitors to the ship and radio enthusiasts worldwide.

Rocket Launch from Virginia Puts 29 Satellites in Orbit
November 19, 2013
by Mike Wall

Dazzling Nighttime Rocket Launch Puts 29 Satellites In Orbit, a New Record

A Minotaur 1 rocket rises into the Virginia sky on Nov. 19, 2013, carrying a record-breaking 29 satellites to orbit on the ORS-3 mission. – Credit: NASA TV

A spectacular rocket launch from Virginia’s eastern shore late Tuesday (Nov. 19) lit up the night sky like an artificial sun, kicking off a record-breaking mission to put 29 satellites into orbit.

The Orbital Sciences-built Minotaur 1 rocket launched into space at 8:15 p.m. EST (0115 GMT Wednesday) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to begin the ORS-3 mission, which is run by the U.S. military’s Operationally Responsive Space Office. The launch was expected to be visible to millions of observes along the U.S. East Coast, weather permitting.

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Amateur Radio Volunteers Ready as Strong Typhoon Hits Philippines
November 8, 2013

Amateur Radio Volunteers Ready as Strong Typhoon Hits Philippines

Super Typhoon Haiyan, a category 5 storm, has hit the Philippines, triggering flooding, destroying buildings, and causing millions to take shelter. Ramon Anquilan, DU1UGZ, of the Philippines Amateur Radio Association (PARA) reports that the typhoon made landfall at about 4:40 AM local time November 8 in Guian Estern Samar, about 600 kilometers southeast of Manila. Neighboring provinces are affected. The storm made a second landfall over Dulag-Tolosa, Leyte, with maximum sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour (146 MPH) near the center, with gusts up to 275 kilometers per hour (171 MPH).

“HERO [Ham Emergency Radio Operators] have reported that those along the typhoon path have shut down their radios as they wait out for it to pass,” said DU1UGZ. “In a few hours, we feel we should be hearing them again.” Some 270 pieces of emergency traffic have been posted, with more expected. Earlier PARA called for the frequencies of 7.095 MHz and 144.740 MHz to be kept clear for emergency traffic.

The area of Bohol and Cebu, which suffered damage from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October, are along the typhoon’s path. Bohol was the epicenter of the earthquake, which killed 222 people at left at least 5000 survivors living in tents. There is no power in many areas. Typhoon Haiyan — the world’s strongest this year — may be one of the most intense storms ever recorded. The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 major storms or typhoons each year. — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee

WIN System Assists in Hiker Rescue

Linked Ham Radio Repeater System Instrumental in Hiker Rescue

A hiker in distress in Nevada is thankful that he had his hand-held transceiver along when he found himself stranded in the hills near Henderson. Western Intertie Network (WIN) System member Jim Frederick, KF6QBW, in Arizona reports he was monitoring the system November 3 around midday when he heard, “Mayday, Mayday. Hiker in distress!” from his WIN System repeater.

“I grabbed a charged battery for my VX-5, and the call came over the radio again,” Frederick says. He responded, and the hiker on the other end, Nathan Rischling, KDØHFM, of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, told him he’d misread the elevation on his topographical map, had ended up on a very steep and rough area, had stuck his hand on a cactus, and could find no safe way out of his situation. He had a GPS, however, and was able to provide Frederick with his precise coordinates. Rischling said he had a day’s worth of food and water but needed help getting off the mountain, as he would not get back to his starting point before sundown and didn’t think his GPS battery would last out the trip.

“KDØHFM stated that he did not take a conventional trail and was using a topographical map and GPS for guidance,” Frederick explained.

Frederick said he knew from experience that a call to the Las Vegas search and rescue would expedite the process, so he put out a call on the WIN System for any Las Vegas station that could make the call. James Freeman, KG7EWP, promptly came back, and Frederick handed off the emergency traffic. Freeman called 911 and spoke with search and rescue, and stood by until the situation was resolved. Within 15 minutes a rescue helicopter was on the way.

Frederick kept his ear to the radio until the event was resolved, in case someone needed more information from him, and a few hours later, he overheard Rischling thank KG7EWP for helping “and everyone else on the WIN System for standing by.”

The WIN System is a series of 90 linked, or inter-tied repeaters — most on UHF (70 centimeters) — that cover a substantial portion of California, 16 other states, and four countries around the world. It is owned and operated by Shorty Stouffer, K6JSI. KF6QBW is an affiliated repeater station with the WIN System.

“Without Shorty, K6JSI (my Elmer), and the WIN System and its members, I would not have known what to do, let alone been able to help, as I was just a link in this chain of events,” Frederick said. — Thanks to Chuck Baer, W4ROA; Jim Frederick, KF6QBW; Shorty Stouffer, K6JSI, and Sean Kutzko, KX9X