Category Archives: News

Texas Group Hams it up with Amateur Radio

by Katy Moore, Staff Writer
Star Community Newspapers

February 14, 2007 – When disaster struck the Gulf Coast in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, cell phone towers were knocked out and communications came to a standstill in that region.

It took weeks for communications to be restored. It was a slow process, one that left many people wondering where their loved ones were and how anyone would rebuild.

Only one group had any access to the outside world. At least, that’s what Tom Brewer says. Brewer is the program director for the Metrocrest Amateaur Radio Society, and he said that in a tough situation, the most advanced technology sometimes fails and it’s left to the amateurs to go back to the basics.

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University of North Texas to add Ham Clubs

UNT’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering laying groundwork for student robotics, amateur radio clubs
UNT News Service

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Based on student demand, the University of North Texas’ Department of Computer Science and Engineering is planning to add two new student-led clubs. Organizational meetings are scheduled for Feb. 16 (Friday) for a UNT Robotics Society club, and a UNT amateur radio club.

David Keathly, UNT lecturer and undergraduate advisor in the department of computer science and engineering, has agreed to assist the two groups in their formation and will serve as initial faculty sponsor.

The Robotics Society will build robots, investigate concepts in robotics, participate in competitions, and assist as judges, coaches and mentors for middle and high school competitions. Keathly says, “The intent of the club is to enter a variety of competitions that are available to college students. Probably the best known of those clubs is the ‘RoboCup’ robot soccer competition.”

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Time Change to Bring Computer Glitches

A Mini, Minor Y2K: Earlier Daylight-Saving Time Could Foil Computer Calendars

By BRIAN BERGSTEIN,The Associated Press
ABC News online

For three weeks this March and April, Microsoft Corp. warns that users of its calendar programs “should view any appointments … as suspect until they communicate with all meeting invitees.” Wow, that’s sort of jarring is something treacherous afoot?

Actually, it’s a potential problem in any software that was programmed before a 2005 law decreed that daylight-saving time would start three weeks earlier and end one week later, beginning this year. Congress decided that more early evening daylight would translate into energy savings.

Software created earlier is set to automatically advance its timekeeping by one hour on the first Sunday in April, not the second Sunday in March (that’s March 11 this year).

The result is a glitch reminiscent of the Y2K bug, when cataclysmic crashes were feared if computers interpreted the year 2000 as 1900 and couldn’t reconcile time appearing to move backward. This bug is much less threatening, but it could cause head-scratching episodes when some computers are an hour off.

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Maine’s Governor Is A Real Ham

Matt Bush, Wed Editor
WCSH6.com

Governor John Baldacci doesn’t have a lot of free time these days. But between his many meetings and functions he has to attend, he likes to take part in a unique hobby. He is a licensed ham radio operator.

Governor Baldacci first got interested in Ham radio during the 1998 ice storm, and got his license after he was elected governor.

The governor uses the radio to chat with other Ham operators around the world. His call sign is KB1NXP.

The Governor keeps his radio in a location only a Governor could, right next to his homeland security phone and the red phone that is used strictly for state emergencies.

Office of Emergency Management Deputizes Hams

Arlington OEM Deputizes Ham Radio Group to Assist with Emergency Communications
Feb 15, 2007 News Release
Government Technology Magazine online

Twenty-five volunteers have graduated from a year-long course of weekly radio communications exercises and stand ready to assist Arlington County Government with crisis communications and response.

The local Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) volunteers have received their RACES certificates of graduation from Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management. The certificates qualify them to help in emergency situations such as weather catastrophes and terrorist attacks.

Each graduate passed a County-authorized character/background check, attended emergency communications classes developed specifically for Arlington County volunteers and participated in regular weekly radio communications exercises managed by the OEM Emergency Support Function team. After more than fifty weeks of exercises, the group has achieved the first level of competence required. Additional training and exercises are required to maintain active Arlington RACES affiliation.

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TAPR Sponsoring Plan for Open Source Hardware

Raymond, Nelson critical of new planned license for open source peripherals

By Michael Stutz

www.linux.com

February 07, 2007 – Tucson Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR) is sponsoring a plan to encourage and popularize the idea of open source — for hardware components. The organization released a draft of an open source license for computer hardware this month, and issued a public call for comments on the draft. The new license is already drawing criticism from prominent members of the open source community.

The Open Hardware License (OHL) was written by John Ackermann, a lawyer whose specialty is open source licensing. Ackermann says that one of the primary motivators for developing the OHL was a series of radio hardware projects whose developers asked TAPR for support.

“While I had been interested for quite a while in developing an open source license for hardware, their request for one pushed me into actually doing it,” he says.

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Morse Code Is Dead. Long Live Morse Code.

IEEE Spectrum

February 2007 – When we learned this past December that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission had finally decided to drop Morse code as a requirement for all ­amateur radio technician class licenses sometime in early 2007, we felt despondent at first. Another soon-to-be-forgotten treasure was about to be cast away on the island of discarded human accomplishments.

So we contacted longtime IEEE member Paul Rinaldo, chief technology officer of the ARRL, the national association for amateur radio (http://www.arrl.org), to see what he had to say about the matter.

He told us: “Elimination of Morse code testing for access to MF/HF bands is not a death warrant for Morse code in the Amateur Radio Service. No question, it will reduce the number of newcomers who learn Morse at the outset. Some will pick it up along the way to join in contacts with other operators, happily using Morse code for contesting, rag chewing, or very-weak-signal communications such as moonbounce. Morse code is also a skill, and many operators just like to demonstrate their proficiency, build up speed, and be regarded as good operators.

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SA Pupil Set to Phone Home from New Satellite

http://www.iol.co.za

January 30 2007 – A young South African voice will be heard from space after Sumbandila Sat, SA’s second satellite, is launched in April or May.

SA Amsat (Southern Africa Amateur Radio Satellite Association) and the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust have joined forces to find the ideal 15-second spoken message, and are inviting pupils younger than 16 to write it.

The winner will record the message, which will be programmed into the satellite speech processor memory and transmitted around the world. Once Sumbandila Sat is launched and switched on, the message will be the first signal heard from the satellite.

The pupil whose message is selected will receive a HP laptop computer sponsored by the trust.

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President Expresses Appreciation to Amateur Radio Operators

ARRL News

NEWINGTON, CT, Jan. 16, 2007 – President George W. Bush has written the ARRL to recognize the just-ended Hello Amateur Radio public relations campaign and to extend “greetings to all those celebrating 100 years of voices over the airwaves.” The president said the centennial of Reginald Fessenden’s landmark Christmas Eve 1906 voice broadcast “opened the door for technological advances” that improved the lives of people around the world.

“I appreciate all who work in radio, and I am grateful to the Amateur Radio operators who provide emergency communications that help make our country safer and more secure,” President Bush wrote. “Your good work strengthens our society and represents the American spirit.”

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Amateur Radio Fan Distributes in Myanmar

by Phil Dirk
The Tribune (San Luis Obispo)

Jan. 26, 2007 – David Martin of Paso Robles holds an amateur radio license issued by the Karen National Union. That’s the rebel government in a disputed region in Myanmar, the Asian country we used to call Burma. Many of us still call it Burma, including Mr. Martin.

Martin, 60, also holds the highest level amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission. He operates a one-man business, manufacturing custom radio equipment and antenna components. He also makes animation mechanisms for animated figures such as those we sometimes see in stores and restaurants.

Radio technology is his avocation, and that avocation takes him to such places as Haiti, Albania and Myanmar. What he does there is to install and improve radio stations for Christian organizations.

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