South Florida HAM’s Provide Vital Link

South Florida HAM’s provide vital link for hurricane victims
WPTV.com – Florida

The radio squeals. “Uh, we’re getting reports of some roof and some building damage, it arrived at a Category 5.” From inside his quaint two bedroom home in Stuart, David Millard communicates with the world. And often, more importantly, the world communicates with him.

Millard is part of a HAM radio network that specializes in hurricane reporting and response. As they and he watched Hurricane Felix slam into Nicaragua, Millard’s fellow radio operators were broadcasting the deteriorating conditions in real-time to aid forecasters. “Giving the pressure, the wind speed.. and so forth,” he explains, “and then they relay that to the Hurricane Center.”
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Canadian Amateur Balloon Launch

Albertans’ balloon launch out of this world
by: Anna Mehler Paperny
CanWest News Service; Edmonton Journal – Canada.com

EDMONTON -Tony Rafaat didn’t send an object into space, but he came pretty close.

Almost 120,000 feet above sea level, to be exact.

Rafaat and several of his friends, all amateur radio aficionados, launched a weather balloon into near-space earlier this month. It was the sixth-highest launch of its kind in the world.

They have the photos to prove it.

“It was a real dream for me,” Rafaat said. “I guess it was my baby to a large extent, but it wouldn’t have happened without others’ help.”
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Texas Law Allows for Ham Radios in Schools

The Case for Lifting Cellphone and Amateur Radio Bans in Schools
by: James Alderman, Freelance Writer
Dallas Morning News – Dallasnews.com

When Duncanville ISD officials this week stiffened their policy regarding student possession of electronic communications devices on campus, apparently nobody bothered to check whether the new policy was legal.

I don’t think it is. Worse yet, it’s dangerous.

When school started on Monday, a new policy kicked in for the school year: Older students will not be allowed to use any type of wireless communications device (including cellphones and radios) during the school day. Kids younger than 7th-graders will not be allowed to even possess any type of wireless device at all.

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FCC to Lower Vanity Call Sign Fees September 17

ARRL.org

The FCC will reduce the regulatory fee to obtain or renew an Amateur Radio vanity call sign by more than 40 percent starting September 17. In a Report & Order (R&O) released August 6, “Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2007,” in MD Docket 07-81, the Commission will cut the fee from its current $20.80 to $11.70. This marks the lowest fee in the history of the current vanity call sign program. The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended) to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program. The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 11 years of the current program — from a low of $12 to a high of $50. The FCC says it anticipates some 14,700 Amateur Radio vanity call sign “payment units” or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting $171,990 in fees from the program.

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New Jersey County Ready in the Event of Emergency

Upper Freehold ready in the event of emergency
The Examiner – Allenstow, NJ

UPPER FREEHOLD [NJ] – The township’s Office of Emergency Management conducted a communication drill Aug. 11 from its Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

The purpose of the drill was to test radio communications and message handling between all area emergency responders during a disaster, according to a press release from the township’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

The scenario for the drill was a category two hurricane, dubbed Hurricane William. Participating agencies in the drill were the New Jersey State Police from the Hamilton barracks, the Allentown First Aid Squad, Allentown’s Hope Fire Company, the Upper Freehold Regional School District, the Upper Freehold Department of Public Works (DPW), the Monmouth County OEM, the Salvation Army and the ham radio Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)-Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), according to the press release.
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Pennsylvania County to use ‘Smart Cards’ to identify responders

Armstrong [PA] County to use ‘Smart Cards’ to identify responders
by Tom Mitchell
LeaderTimes

KITTANNING — Armstrong County Emergency Management Coordinator Randall J. Brozenick said his office is ready for an flood of applications for uniform, statewide identification cards for police, fire, emergency responders and local amateur radio operators.

Brozenick said the new cards will identify about 1,000 emergency personnel and volunteers throughout the county, allowing them access to emergencies.

He said the photo ID cards are scheduled to be issued to comply with Presidential Directive 12 for the Department of Homeland Security’s Counter Terrorism Task Force. Brozenick said the cards issued in the county will be valid anywhere in what is known as Southwestern Pennsylvania Region 13, a 13-county region with includes the City of Pittsburgh.
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Minnesota Weather Spotters Stay in Front of Storms’ Siren Call

Dime- or nickel-size hail? Skywarn volunteers give the National Weather Service the nitty-gritty details radar can’t.
by: Bill McAuliffe
StarTribune.com

Nick Elms isn’t much interested in blue skies. Warm breezes leave him cold. But a blast of thunderstorms like the ones that ripped through the metro recently? He’s there.

Elms, a volunteer severe-weather spotter, spent seven hours out in the meteorological melee, and his reports to the National Weather Service helped Twin Cities residents take the measure of the storm that hit Aug. 13: Golf-ball-sized hail. Winds at 62 mph. Flooding. Blowing dust. Other points of interest included three straight minutes of zero visibility and mud coating one side of his vehicle entirely.
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Wi-Fi World Record Set at 304km

Italian Job Sees Radio Hams Steal Record
by: Matt Chapman
vnunet.com

A company that develops wireless broadband equipment has collaborated with a group of Italian amateur radio operators to set a new world record for a 5GHz Wi-Fi link.

The connection, which achieved a distance of 304km, was set up by Ubiquiti Networks and the Italian Center for Radio Activities (CISAR).

The link extended from Sardinia to central Italy and achieved data rates of about 5Mbps.
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Enthusiasm for Ham Radio Continues Even Today

Loud and clear – Ham radio enthusiasm still resounds in an age of e-mail, cellphones
by William Nettleton, Special to the Times Union
Albany Times Union

As Steve VanSickle scanned through frequencies on his radio, listening for any voice or Morse code communications, only the sound of varying high-pitched squeals broke through the static.

“This is WB2HPR in Troy, looking for someone on the TARA repeater for demonstration of the station,” he said into a small microphone. “WB2HPR standing by.”
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Ohio Emergency Responders Train For Terrorist Threat

Licking, Fairfield, Perry agencies at Buckeye Lake
By Kent Mallett, Advocate Reporter
Newark Advocate

MILLERSPORT — Hundreds of police, fire, medical and other emergency personnel from Licking, Fairfield and Perry counties responded Saturday to terrorist threats around Buckeye Lake.

It was a not a real emergency, but rather a training exercise to prepare emergency responders from various agencies and jurisdictions for a major threat. Funding for the exercise comes though the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
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Amateur Radio in Fresno County and the Central Valley of California